It wasn't me. You can't prove anything.


2011-01-31

Lunch conversation

Went out with the group today. It was my once a week thing. I wanted to pay a friend back for catching me last week. Funny how these things work out.

  • Egypt
    • Two simultaneous conversations on Egypt. This is a record.
    • One of the guys just spent the last couple weeks or days or something in Israel. No one is talking about Egypt. There is nothing in the news or conversation.
    • Our government wants to put in an internet kill switch just like they pulled in Egypt. Not going over well.
    • Our government has been completely noncommittal on the subject. Basically, our leaders are waiting to see who wins.
    • Killing the internet made things worse because people went in to the streets with nothing better to do.
    • How long are they going to keep these people in the dark? The minute the internet comes back online, every one and their dog is going to upload some videos of what went on. No one is going to be held in a good light.
  • Semi-flex time at work.
  • Terrorists getting in to the U. S. and having pretty much free rein. Would killing the internet help, or hurt.
  • Nisan trucks and towing stuff.
  • Weather in general and the chance of snow or at least flurries on Friday of this week 2011-02-04.

Morning Fog

No, not the normal kind of fog that is really just the lack of a good night's sleep and a couple cups of Joe. This was the real kind of fog.

So, I walked in to the bus stop like normal this morning. I was feeling a bit under the weather all weekend. I slept a lot. This means I spent too much time in bed. My hip had a crick in it this morning. Yes, Kelly is getting up there. The walk was great. It was cool, I didn't wheeze or cough my head off. No one tried to run me down. As soon as I got to work, I did the first thing that I really needed to knock out early and started to feel bad again. Dang it!

I didn't notice the fog walking in. As I looked out my office window to the East however, the world was obscured by a wail of haze. It looked like it was planned.

One of these days, I'm going to figure out how to capture it on camera. If I try it with the equipment I have now, they don't capture the fog correctly. I've tried some long exposures before that seemed to work. I'll have to give it another shot soon. I wonder if my DSLR still works. It has been a while since I've used it.

As the day wore on, people started talking about a chance of snow Friday. Then someone said there was a chance of snow tomorrow. It turned out they were talking about Lufkin. Their child was of at some kind of school thing or something. That sounds like a drag.

I'm working all week. Friday is when we are supposed to get freezing rain and a chance of snow. Hope the buses are running. Maybe I can get couple a pictures of that mess on the way in. I just hope I don't get trapped at work or halfway between work and home. That is the kind of thing that will suck.

Notes:

I've been married most of the time that I've been on Facebook. How are young people handling keeping their ex-lovers as friends on Facebook? I mean, I know some sluts who would have a difficult time having any friends on their page if they dropped ex-lovers.

There is a liquid lake buried under the ice of Antarctica that is 14 million years old. It is under 4 kilometers of ice. This is older than carbon dating. This lake will have been untouched since back in the day. Wouldn't it be cool if they found live blind dinosaurs and those lizard guys (Slestacks?) from Land of the Lost down there?

We will never have new furniture until we get rid of the cats.

Ever have one of those really stressful days where you feel good about things? Sometimes it goes down like that. I wish I could bottle that feeling. Things go haywire, but as you plow through them, you feel like you are a hero or something.

Iron Man: Tony Stark was weapons manufacturer who made mines. He was injured by one of his own devices and developed the armor to compensate for lost body functionality.

When Google launched, and now with LinkedIn, common people cannot get hold of stock. You have to be a certified investor and have the income to count as a rich person. How is this not monopolistic or discriminatory?

125,000,000 blogs on the internet.

Every single person who works for our company was at work today except one guy on vacation. How rare is that in a company with eighty plus people?


2011-01-30

Mission log

Early~ got up.

Not so early~ argued with Nat.

Later~ ate something.

Sometime~ crashed for a nap.

18:30~ got up.

19:05 Filled in mission log. published.

Record My Desktop

I accidently recorded about seven minutes of my desktop. The program I used is called Record My Desktop. Gotta love the creativity of Open Source programs. It works. I'm not sure how to control it yet. It was interesting watching myself try to figure out how to stop the program. I went through the Manual pages and looked for what the heck the Mod1 key is. It is the left alt by default.

Not sure why, but I thought the recording of the desktop might come in handy sometime. The video would have gone up on YouTube, but except I mistakingly had a private video (no, nothing like that) up in the background. The idea was to put together a short how to video on video editing and watch myself do some simple editing.


2011-01-29

Mission log

05:30 Got up. This is my normal daily time to get up. Got ready.

06:30 Walked to bus stop. Came very close to walking in to donut shop and getting a bear claw. Resisted. Bus arrived just as my resolve was crashing.

07:20 Got to work. Walked to the front of the building out of habit. Walked around to the sign in door. Signed in. Dan was already there. We got started.

09:00 Dan gave me a ride home. Hell of a guy. He even had to go back to work. I felt bad.

12:00~ Went to sleep.

18:30~ Got up. Watched some YouTube. Hung out on net. Yadda and or Yadda.

21:16 Boiled some water for hot chocolate. Watching Fringe.

21:30 Published mission log.

The tooth, brought to you by the government

I've heard this argument over and over. "I don't care about censorship as long as they only shut people up I disagree with." No one things they have anything to hide. "I'm a law biding citizen." That argument works until they have a teenage daughter. At this point, they realize they may not be breaking any rules and still have something they want to keep private.


2011-01-28

Dark

I had the funniest dream last night.

There was a tiny RV trailer. It had only a small cot, table and some storage on the inside. It was not meant for spending large quantities of time. The entire back of the tin can lifted for easier access. From the outside, it just looked like a storage trailer. It was a place to crash.

The vehicle we used to pull it was nowhere to be found. There were five of us staying in this little trailer or in tents quickly pitched beside it. We had set up camp as much as we could. We didn't have a lot of equipment. No electrical or water hookups. Someone was setting up a camp stove. I was trying to get an old Colman fuel lantern lit before it got too dark.

As I looked around, I thought "This doesn't look like our normal Faire. Where are we? The trees made it look like East Texas. It was flat and hot. The humidity was not too bad, but that was probably the trees. We were the only ones around. The open space we chose for camping was not very large.

There were frogs chirping. The mosquitoes were buzzing like a charging army. The darkness and hidden forest behind the trees grew in to a world unknown. It was there a few minutes ago.

The lantern was gone. The camp and people were gone. The frogs got very loud. The trees seemed to melt in to darkness. I felt myself in a sleeping bag. I was waded up like a microwave burrito. I was in my room.

The alarm went off and I got up. The dream stuck for some reason. Normally dreams like this simply fade to nothing. The use of such things is limited. They are not important for survival. They fade and vanish. Why did I remember this one?

Old router

The following browsers are supported :

Microsoft Internet explorer 5.5 and above

Netscape Version 7.1 and above

I got the above message trying to log in to a router. This may be difficult considering I'm on Linux and cannot load Microsoft

Notes:

Stopped for breakfast this morning. Nat takes great pleasure telling people about her inability to consume gluten. Nat was kind enough to give me a ride again today. I ended up making it to work a bit later than normal, but still earlier than I'm scheduled to turn up.

I have a splinter or something in the fingerprint area of my left middle finger. It hits everything. I can't tell if there is something stuck in there. It hurts after a couple days so I don't think it is a bug bite. I don't dare get someone to lance it. I'm currently in the wait and see boat.

Something I keep hearing in the hall way, between people who have important positions, "I wish we had more time." It is never ending. There is never enough time to do anything.


2011-01-27

DnD night

I got called away before the end of the night.

Field Data
Title Oriental Adventures (DnD)
Description This is a dungeons and dragons night. No dungeons and no dragons, just one daemon who wants her money.
Tags DnD Dungeons and Dragons game night fun play money family friends whisky beer canon 940 IS Houston Texas
Link Link

Day(s)

Work (yesterday)

Before I left the office, I realized I was completely frazzled. I was making mistakes and highly frustrated. One of the things I had been working on was straightening out the wifi network at work. Perfectly normal thing to do. I walked around and marked the locations and hookups of all the access points. One of the bits of data I gathered was the wifi channel of each access point.

One thing you can't get from standing at the wifi device is the IP address of the wire network connection. Someone needs to fix this. Between the settings on the device and my past notes, I extrapolate which device has which IP. There is one gaping flaw in my plan. My phone has some wire crossed. It does not report the correct wifi channel. That's right. My phone is off on the channel numbers somehow. It took me two hours of hair tugging stress and freaking out to figure out that my phone was lying to me.

Lesson learned. Do not rely on my shitty G1 to tell me wifi channel numbers. This is what took the wind out of my sails before heading to DnD. I really just wanted to crash.

DnD (yesterday)

I went to DnD last night. The guys are playing the old die ten version of Oriental Adventures. The rules make much better sense. They switched to 3.5 DnD rules when that rule set came out. The trouble is, Wizards of the Coast basically abandon those rules when they came out with 4 rules. I have a feeling that there will be a grassroots movement to expand and update the 3.5 rules.

Someone brought a really nice bottle of scotch. I forget the brand. It was smooth sipping whiskey. Which I did. I was so drained from my adventures earlier in the day that I just didn't have the strength to make a character. This ended up being a good thing. I hung out, took some video. We had a great time. We had Jimmy John's sandwiches. It was a fun evening.

A friend and I texted back and forth for a bit. She loves DnD. She is a more hard core player than I. She knows the rules better than I do as well. I can tell she is excited to find an old friend (me) to yap with on the subject.

Until .. I get a phone call from Nat. A friend' of ours 14 year old is having trouble breathing and severe abdominal pain. They are headed to the emergency room. Any chance I can get a ride home? Well, Bill ended up giving me a ride home. We owe that man a lot. He has pulled our fanny's out of a couple cracks.

So, I left the game early. Probably a good thing. I was feeling tired.

Trip home (yesterday)

Walked outside. Noticed how quite the neighborhood that my friend lives in really is. I could hear a siren in the distance. I could hear the rush of traffic from Brier Forest several blocks away. Other than that, 3 cars went by in the 20 minutes I stood on the corner waiting for Bill.

The rest of the story (yesterday)

Got home and moved the video files off the camera. Watched some YouTube and went to bed.

Nat didn't come home until after I was in the shower to go to work. She gave me a ride in. That is every day this week. Not sure what is up with that. I do appreciate it. Maybe she just likes having me trapped away from the computer. I'm not beyond noticing this.

Morning (today)

It was hard to get out of bed this morning. It was more difficult than normal I should say.

Spent most of the day messing with wireless settings and issues. I hate wifi and wireless. At least now I know to drag a laptop around and check things before leaving them in place.

I was able to get my phone to start reading the correct channels by turning it off and turning it back on. This is ridiculous. There is no reason a reboot should fix this issue. I refuse to entertain the idea that this makes any kind of sense.

Once that issue was resolved things started falling in to place. We are in a multiple story building. We are in the middle. Let me tell you, every one and their dog has an access point or fifteen going.

Lunch (today)

Skipped it.

Afternoon (today)

We had tea time this afternoon for the first time in a long time. At 15:00 we pile in to the lunch room and talk about non work related topics for 15 minutes. This is work permitting of course. Some British guy who used to work here fifteen years ago or so got the tradition started. We haven't been doing it for well over a year. There is some kind of drive these days to do team building. That hasn't happened in a long time at this company either. I like it.

For the last fifteen minutes or so before we left for the exercise, I was a bit brain dead.

We ended up at Dave and Buster's. I'm not big on video games. I did take some video footage. I do not intend to put it up on the internet. I will put together a video for work consumption. It should be fun to show around at work. And to think, I almost called in sick after not getting a wink of sleep all night.

Got home. Edited up the DnD footage. Once it was on YouTube and the blog entries were up, I went to bed. It should feel like two nights of sleep tonight.


2011-01-26

Politics

I'm listening to a political interview with several politicians on the BBC. Every single question0n leads to an argument about the party bullet list. People complain that politicians are disconnected from "normal people" and yet they have to keep hammering on those bullets in order to make those bullet show through the mish-mash when every one is talking over top of one another. Western civilization is doomed. People, the average kind, are not stupid. They are overwhelmed and drown out.


2011-01-25

Math

Yes, I'm the one learning here. Elle gets some quick math lessons, but I'm being taught patients, yet again.

Field Data
Title Homework from the first grade
Description Tens place addition from first grade math.
Tags first grade school homework kids math maths canon powershot 940 IS Houston Texas
Link Link

Elle and the pillow

Yup. this one is all about parenting.

Field Data
Name Elle and the pillow
Description Elle and her pillow.
Tags kids pillow frustration bedtime canon powershot 940 Houston Texas
Link Link

Now, that's a knife

My dad may have a stroke when he sees this one. I can't believe that is $150. Crazy.

Wireless network

Played with a USB wireless network adapter today. We have a need at work. It works like a champ. As a matter of fact, it worked better than many built in wireless adapters in laptops. That upsets me. I've read in a couple of places that anything with an antenna will out perform anything without a dedicated antenna. All wireless devices have some kind of antenna. My experience tells me this is true.

When I was in to citizen band radio, I learned just a little bit about antennas. You can have the most massive power amplifier (foot warmer, socks) and get out talked by the guy who has a well grounded top center mount antenna with a stock CB.

The same appears to be true about wireless network adapters. The devices with the antennas tend to be cheaper. I believe this is because they do not need to make it higher quality in order to make up for a hidden antenna. Perhaps this makes the idea of having an antenna seem like a cheap cop out. It is not.

People tag me every five minutes saying their wireless is messed up. The problem is that they have connected to an access point on the other side of the building and every time someone sneezes they get kicked off. Or, they are connected, but they do not get an IP address. Or, Someone switched on a microwave and blew out the entire electromagnetic spectrum for three blocks. Gotta have that burrito right now.

The more I use wireless, the less impressed I am with it. It is unreliable and unstable. It is insecure and probably causes cancer and sterility. I bought a $20 router at the house. It does not have an external antenna. I'm trying to cover my house and not much more.


2011-01-24

Editor

I use NEdit at home and work. It is a pretty cool editor. It is a bit more like old Windows editors. I'm not married to it. It is just better than some of the alternatives. Don't get Linux people started on their favorite text editors. Many deaths.

The different versions of NEdit use different spell checkers. The old one uses ispell. The new one uses aspell. The aspell package was clearly written by someone for whom English was not their primary language. Some of the keys are simply backwards.

Field ispell aspell
Use Work Home
Replace Start at 1 Start at 0
Add word Add Insert
Ignored Ignore Accept

I'm getting used to it. I like the spell checker in GEdit better. That is all I like about GEdit better though. If I complain about the spell checker in VI.

Lunch conversation

  • Jokes from Prairie home companion.
    • A farmer's wife gets her husband to go to a sex therapist. She finds him after the first visit in the bar singing to a tractor. He said "The therapist said I need to do something sexy to attract her."
    • These chickens walk in to a library. They say "Book boooooook book book." Like chickens are to do. The librarian gave them a couple books. She followed them out the front door and around the corner where they showed the books to a frog. The frog didn't look impressed and said "Read it, read it."
    • What do you do when you are being attacked by a pack of clowns? Go for the juggler.
  • UT getting their own TV channel.
    • Will people watch?
    • Will they charge for it?
    • Is the market big enough?
  • One of the guys pulling a Wally in a meeting this morning.
  • Video games. I just can't escape this. They spoke of video games for half the time we were at the restaurant. I just gawk and nod.
    • Gold ...
    • Tank ...
    • Level ...

100 word stories

Down

How do you intend to go out? I didn't know I would plummet. Sitting on this plane surrounded by people screaming and climbing over seats, sucking on oxygen masks, preying. I straighten my tie. clear my throat as best I can in the low pressure. When I meet my maker, I will look the part of a man who cared enough to look a bit prepared. Looking prepared and acting informed open so many doors. Maybe they will open this door too. So what if it doesn't. This is my only play in the game. Sit up straight. Breath. Relax.

Duck

You know when you walk down the street and bump in to someone you know, but then you realize that it isn't the same person?
That happened to me today. Only, the person I thought I knew, but didn't acted like they knew me. Even after realizing my mistake and trying to gracefully bail, this person kept walking after me and trying to talk to me. What are you supposed to do in this kind of situation?
The next time I recognize someone on the street, I'm going to go home and track them down online like a normal person.

Notes:

Time's getting near to start mowing. It is January! That is just wrong!

I played with a database for a bit today. The grinding sound coming from between my ears and the smoke was annoying. It had been a while since I had put together an Access DB. I was not particularly good at it to begin with.

Had to put tape on my phone today. The back of the case is cracking. It is a cheap after market back that fits over the enormous battery I had to get because the stock battery sucked. Thanks T-Mobile. You fail me once again.

We have a public address system at work. It works through the phone system. Everyone has their own way of picking up the phone and using the address system. The way the big boss does it is pretty much unique. You can hear it every time. Every time I hear that succession of clicks, I cringe and dread my name being called.

The more I read about firewalls, the more I hate them. The moment I start thinking about what is going on and what needs to go on I get a headache. I understand how all the pieces work. I get an idea how to make the changes. How are you supposed to know what to do? There is a philosophy to this. This is like juggling porcupines. It is aggravated by the fact that I only have live servers to play with. It is as much voodoo as skill. They are one of those necessary evils that must be conquered in order to get anything done on a network.

This is not the most miserable weather we have had. However, it is some of the most miserable weather we have had. Good thing it is not supposed to last for a very long time. That is what makes weather truly miserable.


2011-01-23

Landings

Close, success.

Close, success

They may get arrested, but they are walking away. Didn't look like any one got hurt. Success.

Taking your balloon for a walk. Balloon operator afraid of heights. Taxying.

Same rules as above. They might get arrested, but no one was hurt.

100 word story

"Where did all that blood come from?"
"That isn't blood."
"Sure it is."
"No, it is transmission fluid. Trust me. Blood doesn't look red when it hits the ground."
"Yah."
The men crouched behind a wall of dirt as the bullets sliced the air above their heads. They had been there a while it seemed. The night was cold, but the first behind them kept them warm.
"When will we get a break?"
"When we make one. No one is going to give us a break. Get ready. Don't slip in the blood."

I stole this idea of a 100 word story from This Blog is Full of Crap.

Online Etiquette

The words were snarky and snide and rude. His final message, however, left an extra special impression: "I got caught up in the anonymity of the internet. I'm sorry and here is a legit post with my criticisms." Upon opening the pasted link, I was greeted by a nasty pornographic image that would make Sasha Grey vomit into the nearest trash can.
When I later noted to Matt, via Twitter, that my 7-year-old daughter happened to be next to me when I clicked on the picture, he wrote: "lmao. You're so full of ----."
...
Quite frankly, I wanted to hate him. I wanted to bash him. I wanted to plaster his name, address and personal information atop a column on CNN.com, so that when someone Googled his name for future employment, they'd find the words "Sent me a link to pornographic material."
Then we spoke. And I (dammit) liked him. Without invisibility or the support of his 54 Twitter followers or the superhuman powers supplied by a warm keyboard, Matt was meek and apologetic. "I was just trying to get a rise out of you," he said. "You're a known sports writer, and I thought it was cool. That's all. I never meant for it to reach this point."
...
Indeed, along with contacting Matt, I also tracked down Andy, a 23-year-old aspiring writer who tweeted of me: "jeff Pearlman and billy madison share an intelligence quotient (because jeff Pearlman is a f---ing retard)."
When I dialed a number I found for Andy, his mother answered. (I admit, this brought me great delight.) Andy was even more apologetic than Matt -- and more willing to explain his actions.

So many people would say there is not online etiquette. As long as your name and where people can find you are not plastered all over everything you send over the interet, there will never be a sense of retribution. It is the same thing that happens in the school yard. If one kid things they will get away with something, then they will do it. I imagine if enough people get nailed for this sort of behavior, and the news of such gets out, less people will do it. There will always be someone who thinks they will get away with it.

A long time ago I read something about people and how they act. Harsh punishments do not stop people from doing bad things. If, however, the stronger they feel that they will get caught, the less likely they are to do the bad thing. If your real name and home address were plastered on every post, you would be more civil, or not post at all.

Skype

I recently added a bunch of people on Skype. This is a waist of time because I have no headset or microphone that works. Something tells me I'm going to need the functionality of Skype in the near future. It is an amazing product. Skype has a great hook as well. The free functionality can be extremely useful on it's own. You do not need a bunch of equipment, nor do you need to sign up for a contract.

The quality of things could be better. I've heard many podcasts for example that royally suck because Skype was acting up. It reminds me a lot of the phone system. Funny that.

I don't really know that many people outside of my circle of friends. I have not had that much use for a webcam. I don't know what kind of use I'll get out of one soon, but it is just one of those feelings that it is a good idea.

There is a headset I've picked out on Amazon. I'm probably going to pull the trigger and get it next month. Not got me a headset a long time ago, but it died because I was using it as a set of headphones. I go through headphones. This time I'm going to only use the headset when I make a call or need that functionality. I'll take out my frustrations on a cheaper less precious set of generic headphones.


2011-01-22

Rolland the Nomad

You really were one of the folks who tried. You were one of the folks who made a difference for the better. The little bit I knew you, for the short time I knew you, you were a good, honest person who made a difference for the better.

Field Data
Name Rolland the Nomad
Description Rolland was a good friend. He passed away earlier this month. This is just a quick toast to his memory.
Tags Roland the nomad friend death toast tribute canon powershot 940IS Houston Texas
Link Link

Rule for the ages

All together now gang. If at first you don't succeed, back up and floor it!

Money

I got a full time job in 1994 at $8.50 an hour. It was 40 hours a week. That comes out to $17,680. In 2010 dollars that is $26,013.58. The took I used says there is a 47.1% inflation differential.

In 1996 I started at a big company for $15 an hour. That is $31,200, or $43,360.84 in 2010 dollars.

When I left that large company for a smaller one I was making right about $50,000 a year. That is $55,825.65 in 2010 dollars.

I'm not going to give amounts for the new company. Hopefully folks understand.

In 1988, I got a job at a grocery store for $4.50 an hour. It was nowhere near a full time job, but I'm going to throw it in as a full time job just for fun. Get this $4.50 an hour in 1988 was nearly the same as $8.50 an hour in 1994 after adjusted to 2010 dollars.

Inflation tool I used.

Based on 2010 dollars

Year actual adjusted
1988 $9,360 $17,252.70
1994 $17,680 $26,013.58
1996 $31,200 $43,360.84
2005 $50,000 $55,825.65
2010 Not disclosed Not disclosed

Beyond Black Mesa

This is what some creative people can do with time, effort, a couple stout laptops and some HD video cameras. It almost has the feel that I had when I was playing the game. not quite. People are leaning in to turns when they run for example. That throws everything off. Except for little details like that, it is a great romp.

Fantastic effort. This is better than most of The TV I've watched in the last year or two.

Energy sorted

Well, I for one must say that it is about time this whole energy crises and middle east issues all just dissolved to meadows and sunshine. These issues have been dominating the news for quite long enough. I would greatly appreciate more news about traffic jams all tee new bacteria guzzling SUVs on the market.

News: Biotech Company Making Fossil Fuels With a 'Library' of Bacteria
"In September, a privately held and highly secretive US biotech company named Joule Unlimited received a patent for 'a proprietary organism' รข€“ a genetically engineered cyanobacterium that produces liquid hydrocarbons: diesel fuel, jet fuel and gasoline. This breakthrough technology, the company says, will deliver renewable supplies of liquid fossil fuel almost anywhere on Earth, in essentially unlimited quantity and at an energy-cost equivalent of $30 (US) a barrel of crude oil. It will deliver, the company says, 'fossil fuels on demand.' ... Joule says it now has 'a library' of fossil-fuel organisms at work in its Massachusetts labs, each engineered to produce a different fuel. It has 'proven the process,' has produced ethanol (for example) at a rate equivalent to 10,000 US gallons an acre a year. It anticipates that this yield could hit 25,000 gallons an acre a year when scaled for commercial production, equivalent to roughly 800 barrels of crude an acre a year."

Joke

Yup. nothing like the interet for the rearing of old jokes. I like this one. I've heard a couple different versions of it.


2011-01-21

Went to see Green Hornet

Green Hornet sucked.

  • The best 3d was the logo of the 3d company. They should really rethink the awesome 3d commercials and previews in front of shitty 3d movies.
  • The plot was just stupid.
  • I just didn't care about any of the characters except the bad guy. I never root for the bad guy. I rooted for this bad guy.
  • I liked the car, but I wanted the decoy car more then the one they used.
  • Lots of homosexual jokes. It just wasn't funny.
  • Most ridiculous bad guy gun ever.

End of review.

Notes:

"If we could travel faster than light, this interstellar war would be a lot less boring." - On a Blade of Grass - Escape Pod.

The bus this morning had to stop and pick up the dozen or more people who had to get off an earlier bus that apparently had something wrong with it. Nothing out of the ordinary there. Except, the bus then passed us as we pulled away. Sure, something was wrong enough to not want passengers on the bus, but not broken enough to stop the bus from returning to the barn under it's own power. Still, annoying.

I spent most of my day trying to get two computers to talk to each other. It all boiled down to firewall settings. We knew this and yet, we could not do much about it. Every time you start down a path when it comes to modern firewalls, you find yourself falling in to a new trap. It is no wonder that it is a full time job to administer network security these days. It is a nightmare.

Someone was on the top floor of the parking garage running an RC car. It took me a minute to figure out what the noise was. It sounded like one of those high speed racing models. Looked like fun. By the time I grabbed the camera, the person was done and packing up.

While stopping to ponder the universe, I noticed the sunshine reflecting off a flat spot in the concrete before me. The universe can wait. This is beauty. As one learns to think in the languages of machines, the world becomes cloudy and looses the little magic bits. The child sees the sparkles of tiny flat stones in the concrete. The man sees only a road to tread and bills to pay.


2011-01-20

light

Light travels 300,000 km in a second.

That is 300,000,000 m and thus 300,000,000,000 mm.

A gigahertz is 1/1,000,000,000 of a second.

        1            300,000,000,000     300
   -------------  *  ---------------  =  ---  =  300
   1,000,000,000            1             1

This means light travels 300 mm at one tick of the clock running at 1 gigahertz.

This is just shy of one foot.

Yoville

Yoville started working on my 64 bit Ubuntu Linux box. I don't know where to go from here. Is this a good thing or not? I mean, I like the fact that I don't have to jump through fifteen hoops to get a Flash game to work, but I am a bit upset because I don't have to jump through fifteen hoops to get some worthless time waisting Flash game to work. I rather enjoyed not playing this game.

I was cornered in to playing it by Nat. She wanted me to help her do something. She has since moved on to other time and money waisting games. I don't want to get in to what I think of this issue. The developers are just thieves in my opinion, taking advantage of people by making the games addictive and getting people to peer pressure their friends in to getting involved.

So, did Yoville fix something or did Flash start working better under Chromium on Ubuntu? This is 64 bit for goodness sake.

Until now, I had to use Wine to install the Windows version of Firefox. Then get the Flash plugin to work under that setup. Then and only then would Yoville start to work. This worked for a couple of different games. Sound never worked properly this way. It would work for a minute and then crap out. I hated the sound in Yoville anyway. Still, it was useful in some other situations.

I'm afraid to go looking for other Flash games or programs that didn't work before. What if they all work? I will not be an outcast any more. I'll be <gasp> NORMAL!! We can't have that.

Noise

We have a paging system at work. It runs through the phones. In the lab, I have a hard time hearing the pages. More specifically, I have a hard time telling what some folks say. It isn't their fault. I figured out that some people's voices hit the same frequencies that the fans of the computers hit. I think some people speak in more advantages tones. Other folks can shout and not be heard in there.

We are fixing a new office area at my office. People will be moving in soon. I was down there helping set up yesterday. It was so quite. Everyone else was off working on other bits of the business. I was there trying to get some wireless stuff to work. It was quite. No running equipment. No people or phones. The only noise was me complaining under my breath and the air conditioning emitting a hum.

I wish I had a room in my home I could keep empty. Nothing on the walls. Nothing on the floor. Just walls and me. Nothing kicks my imagination like that. As long as I have the opportunity to come and go when I want, and it didn't start to feel like a prison cell, I think it would be very therapeutic. This would be a great place for the creative juices to flow.

Maybe I can create something like this room. This idea of a blank room makes me think of meditation. That might be what I'm looking for. This is a place to relax my mind and let my conscious self wander around in my own thoughts.

If you saw all my work areas you would think that I have a fear of empty, uncluttered or dust free spaces. I am messy. The mess follows me around. The empty room would have a computer in it shortly. Then would come a set of shelves. That table and chair just showed up unexpectedly. Before you know it, I would be weaving my way through the paths between the clutter.

No, I'm not a border. I'm more just lazy. I have an unfortunate high tolerance for crap. I fell in love with my grandfather's old houses. He had boxes and shelves full of cool old junk. Stuff that was still in some way useful, for the most part. Nothing had a place, but he knew where much of it was. If you dug deep enough, you found tools that were old and rusty or useless. This is why I try to go through my stuff and get rid of useless stuff after a while. A bag full of old useless compute equipment left the house last night. You can't tell by looking at the shelves I pulled all the stuff from.

The rummage was a failure because I was looking for a microphone. I need one for Skype. I've gone through fifteen over my lifetime. I used to have a couple that I had purchased for $0.50 each at a garage sale. These lasted me twenty years. They then vanished. I had a chance to buy a $2 mic on Amazon, but it looked like it sucked. The headsets look useful, but they want $20 for any that look like more than crap. None of the inexpensive ones are stereo. I need to hit some garage sales for a used mic that doesn't suck.

This trek was not so much a trip down memory lane so much as a wallow in the cat hair and dust. I tossed old IDE drive cables, parallel printer cables, cordless phones, mobile phones, broken keyboards, dead batteries and goodness knows what else. This was very noisy. I'm trying to connect with the title of this post. I've gotten off track. I found a couple of lantern mantles, a hot glue gun and some ear plugs. No microphone.

Odd memory

I have this memory from my youth. It is of a line of old houses. The paint was flaking on many. The ground was muddy. The trees had no leaves. The trees were black and had no leaves. The air was clear and cold. The street was dirty. The sun was very bright. The air was wet.

I was with my parents. We were headed somewhere. This was in front of where we lived. I was looking away from the house. I do not remember the house, but I do remember this scene.

The wind was blowing. There was an engine running in the distance. There was a hiss of a busy road. Someone was standing not far behind me talking in that not important way. I do not remember what was said.

There were items in the front yards. I know some of them were toys of other children. I do not remember details of the toys except at least one of them was white and lay across the street.

This is one of the most vivid memories of my very young life. I think I was three. As I get older, I'm sure 95% of this scene is my mind recreating everything as I go. It doesn't matter if I'm honest. The scene is the definition of beautiful.

One thing I know is that everything in the scene is clear as a bell. I had astigmatism even as a child so what I really saw must have been blurry in that smear kind of way that only astigmatism can produce. Not in my mind's eye thought. It is a postcard perfect memory. How awesome is that?

Notes:

A front rolled in just before lunch today. It would have been awesome to catch a time lapse of it, but I didn't notice it coming until it was really too late. I did have the Flip camera with me today because of DnD. Missed it thought. Drat.

"... or is this just another warehouse turned porn factory?" -Drabblecast.

It took three of us to put together an office chair. Of course, the big boss walks by just long enough to watch me drop the base of the chair while trying to fit bits together. It took three of us to bend the back of the chair to make the screw holes line up. It is a cheap chair. It took a minute to figure out that you had to really smash the leaver the first time to get it to go up and down. I'm sure I came off looking like an idiot. Well, I felt like one.

How many people do you know who listen to poetry occasionally while grinding away at work? Well, if you know me, you know at least one. I listen to a couple of podcasts that have poetry as part of their schedules. I listen to some futon podcasts as well. I drink wine instead of beer. I'm allergic to something in beer. I get sick from it very easily.

I hat to reorder the work light for videos. I did get the bulbs. They kept pushing back the date on the one light. So, I hat to go order the other identical [24~e light that was $1 more expensive. It will end up in a video. Worry not.


2011-01-19

Money

WARNING: Complaining ahead.

The UK media is finally realizing that inflation is here and has been here for a while. People gripe that companies and governments are not absorbing part of the strain. Do they forget that there is only one way to make money for a company or a government? They all sit on the tit of the public at large. That is where the buck stops. If it were not for people there would be no money.

Normally, the cost of everything goes up and then the wages of people go up to match the rise. This keeps the economy going because people just refuse to give up their cable TV and corn flakes. The problem is, wages are stagnant this time. People are just not able to afford the same things they got last week as a stable of survival.

In the UK, prices are rising at 5% a year at the moment. Wages are rising 2% at the same time. This means wage earners are loosing ground. They are falling behind. Trust me, something similar is going on in the U. S.. Don't think we are immune. The price of everything I buy every day is going through the roof. It is getting ridiculous.

Our company is having reviews. We got a memo talking about things are tough all over. Don't expect a raise. When I started working over twenty years ago, I made $9 an hour. I wander how far ahead of that, adjusted for cost of living, I am today. I have a family to support for goodness sake.

Then comes the slap in the face. In the same news cast the commentator says "Hey, there is a good side to oil costing so much. You will loose less and we might meet our carbon emission level." Bastards. It is officially convenient that the all these carbon cap and tax markets would pop up just as we see the light at the end of the tunnel from this down turn? People will blame their inability to pay for things on the general economical downturn instead of this new burden that has crept it's way in to our wallets over the last decade.

There is one good thing coming out of this economic down turn. There is a budding movement to tell kids when they suck at something. There are people in educational systems who are saying things like "Not everyone gets a metal for everything." Some people are beginning to think that making kids feel good is not the end goal of teaching them things. Perhaps, children should be expected to perform. If they do not perform at one task, then they should be challenged with other tasks. If you are not frustrated, you are not learning.

Notes:

It is funny how creative juices work. Some days I have fifteen blog entries poor out of me. Other days I'm lucky to type up a weather report.

Someone said that the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year. I suppose that is just enough time to tell that this year is not going to be any different than last year.

3d is a fad. It is a fad in its present form any way. The human eyes do not see in three dimensions. The eyes see two 2d images. The brain generates or imagines a 3d structure. As one object passes in front of or behind another, the imagined structure of the world is honed in to our perception of reality.

The fact that there is a war on was way down the list of reasons why highly skilled and high ranking people are bailing out of the U. S. military. The military bureaucracy and the lack of any intelligence at the top for making decision. Weak leadership at the top was also listed as a frustration.


2011-01-18

Notes:

I need to learn more about Tesla. Not what they have spouted in movies and novels. I want to know a little bit about the man. He is just too out there to not be a time traveler.

I may have to stop listening to conservative talk shows at work. I get all fired up.

A friend of mine came in today. I know he feels terrible. He missed yesterday afternoon for illness. He came in today, I just know it, because he missed three days in January last year and flat refuses to do the same this year. That kind of thing weighs on you the whole year.

2011 is the beginning of a new decade. At the beginning of the next decade, I will be in my fifties. What the hell happened? Where did that red headed kid go? Someone kidnapped my youth. When I go, I want my tombstone to read "Out of my way, I have a deadline." or "I wish I had spent more time at work." or "All I learned I lost. What did I really need to know?" Really, whatever you can afford is fine.

Has human cloning already happened? There are some very wealthy people in need of organs. If not, how much longer to you suppose it will be before this happens?


2011-01-17

WebM and Theora

It is all about the codec.

Containers

Files are files. avi, mov, mp4, mp3 - These are file formats. They have little to do with codecs beyond what is "normally" contained within these file formats. These are containers. These hold the data you see and hear on the screen.

Codec

A codec is the math that is run on the data to make it something that you can store one digital media. The end result is a big pile of numbers that mean nothing until you run them backwards (decode) through the codec and back in to the proper data to display or play on a sound card.

Money

Companies spend a lot of money making a better codec. If you make a better codec the world will create YouTube and pipe it in to every computer in the world. Then, you can drop the hammer and force every one to pay you baskets full of cash or you will turn off the spigot.

The reason there are a million different codecs has nothing to do with which is better or which is easier. It all boils down to money. Which will protect my content and make me look better and thus worth more to every one in the world?

Theora and WebM are free as far as I can tell. I have not done a lot of homework. The quality is not as good as H264 in my opinion. I can't put up an example on YouTube because YouTube converts everything to their format, which happens to be H264 or Flash move format at the writing of this article. YouTube is, however, dropping H264 because of rights.

Apple: The Ambiguity of "Open" and VP8 Vs. H.264 Posted by CmdrTaco on Monday January 17, @12:37PM "With all the talk about WebM and H.264, how the move might be a step backwards for openness, and Google's intention to add 'plugins' for IE9 and Safari to support WebM, this article attempts to clear misconceptions about the VP8 and H.264 codecs and how browsers render video. Firefox, Opera and Google rely on their own media frameworks to decode video, whereas IE9 and Safari will hand over video processing to the operating system (Windows Media Player or QuickTime), the need for the web to establish a baseline codec for encoding videos, and how the Flash player is proprietary, but implementation and usage remain royalty free."

Hit the SlashDot article for a bunch of informative links.

The [insert product] challenge

It is the iPhone vs the iPhone. Version vs AT&T. Which is the evil one? They are all telephone companies. Apple is laughing at their customers all the way to the global banking conglomerate. I'm on T-Mobile. They are cutting the amount of data you can use on your unlimited plan. I suppose it is unlimited as long as you stay under the limit.

  • I drink water.
  • I eat real food most of the time.
  • I use Android and I don't much mind what phone or service it uses.
  • I use Linux.
  • I do not watch TV any more except in the morning for the weather.

I work very hard to not fit the frigging mold.

Words matter

It has become an art to word your insult so it sounds like news.

How many times have I heard the term "Angry Republicans in the House of Representatives." or, something to that effect? The press is drooling for blood. That is what sells information. I can't say that is what sales papers any more. I have a bad feeling that every little thing is going to be blown to crises proportions until there is no media left to shout from the mountain top.

"Those most in need ..." This keeps coming up. The government in the U. K. wants to give people on disability and terminal cancer and such cheaper energy for heat in the winter. That sounds good, but the people on both sides seem to forget that that bill goes to consumers. Turn around and the idea of "higher taxes on retailers" comes out of their mouths with zero regard that it will be passed straight on to the consumer. Keep sticking your head in the magic sand. At what point will someone say "I don't need this?" Well, it happens more and more every day.

It is MLK day. I think Mr. King was a great man. He fought for what he believed in. He made wrongs right. He died in his trek for a better world. I don't get the day off, but my child does. Thank goodness we have someone who is willing and able to watch her. It sounds to me like there is still a wrong that needs to be made right.

Mr. King was a master of words. His words really mattered. Some folks are slopping over with words that cause more harm than good. When you spew hate in your words, when you divide people with your words, when your words hurt people, you are doing more harm than good. Stop it. Causing a divide between groups of people and inciting a riot is a bad thing.

Chat Roulette

Remember Chat Roulette? Yes, the video chat site with all the exposed male genitalia, that's the one. They have monetized all those freaks. When you go on Chat Roulette, you can flag people for being naked. If they get flagged enough, they get forwarded to a porn site. If they sign up, the Chat Roulette people get paid. Chat Roulette is making a hundred grand a month off these psychos. I've never tried Chat Roulette. This was heard on The Dinner Party Download podcast.

No sooner did I write the above paragraph than someone came in and mentioned Chat Roulette to me. They had just given it a try while setting up someone's laptop for SKYPE. It kind of creeped me out.

This makes me remember that I need to get SKYPE up and running. I don't remember why. I needed to have the web cam and microphone up a while back. It should be pretty easy to be honest. I say that and I know people have trouble doing just that in Linux. Heck, the phones I was looking at the other day had SKYPE software and back aiming cameras to make it work better. Amazon has some for $5 that have LED lights and built in microphones. I may try one of them.

Wish me luck.

Old buddy

We have an ex employee at my office. I noticed that I have his number, but not his email. I've gotten a bit better at asking for data over the internet and such. There is a certain fines to convince people that you are not some spammers, or some phisher looking for too many details.

Me: Hey [name] if this is still your number, may I have your email? -[my name]

Him: Yeah it is. Of course I have to ask you why u want my email.

Me: Shits and giggles.

Him: Sounds like you. [his email]

I had to chuckle.

Joke

A pirate walks in to a bar. He is a mess. The bartender asks "What happened to your leg?"

"Arrrr, a shark jumped up and bit off my leg."

The bartender winced and asked "What happened to your hand?"

"Well, I lost that in a sword fight."

The bartender thought he might as well get it all out of the way at once and asked "What happened to your eye?"

The pirate rolled his good eye and said "A scurvy bird flew over and pooped in my eye."

The bartender was taken back a bit. "Couldn't you wash it off or something? How did that cause you to loose your eye?"

"It was the day after I got me hook."

Notes:

Wet walk in this morning. It was foggy as well. The new light helped direct people around me. Works like a champ.

God bless Steve Jobs. I'm not saying that because I think he is such a wonderful guy or that he has worked any kind of miracle. I'm not a fan-boy of Apple. He has done a lot that affects my life, most of it I consider a good thing. He has health problems and I wish him well, just as one person to another. I pray for people I know all the time. I just don't advertise it on the blog. Please don't feel left out. Jobs will never hear about this prayer.

Whale vomit (ambergris) is more expensive than gold or truffles.

"If you have more possessions than you can carry for a mile, then they poses you." This is an old saying.

I can't complain about work on my Twitter feed because people at my work follow me. Well, they follow that feed. Time for a stealth feed.

Someone said the world population will peak around 2050 at nine billion. A bunch of other people said that was ridiculous. I have no idea. I doubt I'll make it that far based on family history. One interesting thing that came out of the little article was the number one means of birth control in the world. Educate women, and the birth rate drops below 2.1 births, which is the magic replacement number.


2011-01-16

You don't see that every day

Just how fast can a flash flood take out a low crossing. Well, nearly instantly. Too fast to jump out of the way unless you know it is coming. That first wave looks powerful enough to knock a stout vehicle off it's wheels.

Best game review ever

I have nothing to add to this except to swear it was not me who wrote the original review.


2011-01-15

Australian floods

Just sitting in the office and whoosh, there goes half the cars in the parking lot. What a mess. Several people have been killed by these and related floods.

Test form

This is the current output of the test form that I put up yesterday. The form takes up more room on the screen than I really though tit should have. I can live with that if the result is a spreadsheet this easy to output and maintain. Have mercy, this was easy. This is as it should be.

Timestamp This is question 1 Please enter short text This is question 2 This is a multiple choice questiono. This is a scale. This is a simple checkbox.
1/14/2011 16:49:39 Testing_kelly Blue third 4 Item 1, item 4
1/15/2011 18:08:14 Typed from my iPad Red first

Man trims beard

Yes, I'm desperate to put up a video. The goatee is getting out of hand. So, here is a video.

Field Data
Title Man trims beard
Description Yup. I filmed myself trimmming my goatee/beard. That is how desperate I am to put up a video.
Tags beard man trim canon powershot 940IS houston texas
Link Link

Tunisia

I wined yesterday that something was going on in Tunisia and CNN sent me a cryptic email spouting that the Prime Minister was assuming control of the country. Well, now I know more or less what is going on. I stumbled across researched this video and the accompanying news article. Highly informative.

As dusk fell on this gracious, tree-lined capital, Tunis was a city under siege — but the man who had ruled Tunisia with an iron fist for 23 years was gone, driven out by a popular revolt that may rock the entire region. I had landed in Tunis just moment before President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country, shutting down the airport and prompting declaration of a state of emergency. I saw a city empty except for the hundreds of riot police occupying the streets. The main boulevard, Habib Bourghiba Avenue, was shut, with soldiers peeking from the gun turrets of tanks, their rifles pointed outwards. The choking smell of tear gas hung over the evacuated streets, where hundreds of shoes lay scattered on the sidewalk having been abandoned by people fleeing a police assault just an hour earlier. Bits of brick broken from large flower pots lining the streets were everywhere, having been hurled by protestors. Young plain-clothes security police outside the Ministry of the Interior building — the power center of Ben Ali's regime — prowled the streets, wielding makeshift batons made of table legs and wooden stakes. See TIME's photoessay "Protesters in Tunisia Bring Down the Government.")
...
As dusk fell on this gracious, tree-lined capital, Tunis was a city under siege — but the man who had ruled Tunisia with an iron fist for 23 years was gone, driven out by a popular revolt that may rock the entire region. I had landed in Tunis just moment before President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country, shutting down the airport and prompting declaration of a state of emergency. I saw a city empty except for the hundreds of riot police occupying the streets. The main boulevard, Habib Bourghiba Avenue, was shut, with soldiers peeking from the gun turrets of tanks, their rifles pointed outwards. The choking smell of tear gas hung over the evacuated streets, where hundreds of shoes lay scattered on the sidewalk having been abandoned by people fleeing a police assault just an hour earlier. Bits of brick broken from large flower pots lining the streets were everywhere, having been hurled by protestors. Young plain-clothes security police outside the Ministry of the Interior building — the power center of Ben Ali's regime — prowled the streets, wielding makeshift batons made of table legs and wooden stakes. See TIME's photoessay "Protesters in Tunisia Bring Down the Government.")
Liveleak This was coppied from Time

Toy gun set

My God! I had one of those machine guns. I remember it well. I had no idea it did single shots by lifting the rear site. What a great idea. That should be on real machine guns.

Australian flood damage

Language warning.

This is someone's home. The guy manages to keep it together long enough to inspect his the outside of the house. At least he had a seconds story to put stuff. I hope it didn't get in there so he can recover as much as possible. Remember, this is an area that is not used to flooding. These folks have to fight droughts on a daily basis. It sounds like many areas had no plan for high water at all, which is almost understandable. Hasn't the world been screaming about changing weather patterns now for a couple of decades? Well, I'm not prepared for snow and ice here in Houston Texas.

Good luck and keep your powder dry.

Brisbane Austrailia

Several of the Australian vloggers I watch are from this area. This reminds me of Katrina and all the devastation she brought to our coast.


2011-01-14

Control in Tunisia

I get the following email from CNN headline news.

Tunisia's prime minister announced on TV that he's taking over the volatile country.
CNN headline news email

So, the Tunisian prime minister is taking over his own country? Are things that bad in Tunisia? I may have to do some homework on this one.


2011-01-13

In a name

One of my coworkers walks in my office and says "I need a computer named Nancy-812 on the network."

This doesn't sound anything like our naming scheme, so it might be a very old computer or a one off kind of connection. So, I ask him directly "Nancy-812? Is that right?"

"Yup." he responds in a matter of fact tone. Actually, this guy only has one tone and that is it.

"OK." and I start entering the name in the correct field to search.

It is not until this point that he stops and in that classic matter of fact tone says "Oh, wait. It is N-8612"

"That makes much more sense." I say and do the job.

What is the difference between "N-8612" and "Nancy 812"? Say them both to different people quickly.

Yahoo Toolbar blows

One of my tasks at work is to setup new machines and resetup old machines. When we get a bunch of new machines in, I make an image so it is easier to propagate the software and settings to all of them. This is a perfectly normal thing to do in IT.

Today, I updated an old image. At some point Yahoo Toolbar ended up installed. I hate that. They sneak in by hiding their install in plane sight. They act like it is not just an advertisement portal stuck at the top of every single page to which you surf. Oh, some poor fools seem to enjoy their experience of being hand held around the universe by someone who is ultimately out to screw you and others who want to screw you out of money.

Of course, I had already made the image. It took two minutes to remove Yahoo Toolbar. I then got to kick off another image build. This takes a couple hours. Basically, it takes so long because it compresses the entire hard drive in to a single file. In this case, the file is about twelve gigabytes.

There is a problem with toolbars in general. They eat up space on the screen for not much return. Someone might install three of four of them and have a postage stamp sized sliver of screen in which to get everything else done on the web. This is ridiculous. I do not even leave the favorites or bookmarks bars up. They are useless to me. They just eat up space.

Once upon a time, Microsoft made a skin for Internet Explorer that they called Media explorer. This thing had a space dedicated to video. Everything you watched on the net was supposed to play in this tiny area. The idea that things on the net are different sizes and that you might not want to watch video at all times and there for might want that space to other things while it was unused did not factor in to their decision. Thank goodness they made this an option. It didn't last.

Microsoft is not the only company to fall in to this hole. it This is a test form from Google Doc seems like everyone and their brother wants to stick their widget on your screen at all times whether you need it or not. Nowhere is this worse than on mobile devices. In Google Maps, you have the search bar across the top of the screen at all times and you cannot turn it off, even if you do not have a search to perform at the moment. People are bitching about this on the net and Google keeps saying it is a feature, not a bug. Oh, and there will be no setting to over ride it.

Notes:

The marketplace is not hungry for hybrid vehicles.

bleepity bleep bleep bleep.

Inception is not difficult to follow for anyone who has ever exorcised their left brain.

Borders book stores may go under. You can think online purchases of books and devices that display text for reading. I cannot think of the last time I bought something at a bookstore besides coffee.

"Worse case scenario" The game the whole family can play. Prepare for disaster before it happens.

It was cold today at lunch. I went to McD for a couple of chicken sandwiches and a couple of apple pies. I like walking out for under $4. I ate on the roof of the parking garage, like normal. IT was extremely cold on my hands. I was warm in a sweater and coat. The security guard was up there. I have no idea what she was doing, but her cart was there with the little strobes going. Strange.

There is a new camera that is a digital camera that has a built in printer. The brand name will be Polaroid. Lady Gaga is the spokes woman. I wonder how much they will cost. There was something at CES about them. I think this is ridiculous, but it sounds like the kind of thing that will really catch on if people are as stupid as I think they are.

Someone compared banks to casinos. A banker turned around and said, "There are few risks in casinos." Yikes.

10% of the population of the Port-aw-Prince died in one night a year ago.

Thailand put up a ban on logging. A side effect of this is elephants and handlers wandering around some cities, begging for food and basically panhandling.

I got my first vendor pen today. It was for ordering four Dell drive trays. Score.

Google form

This is a test form from Google Docs. Please consider just filling in some random information and let me know in the comments if you have any issues. I'm particularly interested in how it messes with the rest of the layout of the blog. Supposedly, it puts together a spreadsheet with the data collected. Not sure how this might come in handy. If it is gone, I probably deleted it to save space in Google Docs. Well, I don't care so much for the space being used. I hate my online system to be too cluttered.


2011-01-12

Notes:

Rayon is made from wood pulp. Learn something every day.

19% real unemployment as determined by including underemployed. Our president has played a lot of golf. These are people who have part time or temporary jobs who are looking for full time employment.

We had a hard freeze last night. Left the faucet dripping. I don't know if this helps, but Ive been taught to do it. I need to send this one in to the Mythbusters.

The dollar is in trouble. No one seems to be worried about the U. S. currency tanking. Well, it will fail. There is nothing but a big steaming pile of Jack backing it up these days. The people in charge seem think the gravy train goes on for ever. It never has before.

We have to test some equipment against 10 megabit network connections to make sure they work. Do you know how difficult it is to find a 10 megabit Ethernet hub any more? Not 10/100, 10.

I wonder what percentage of my work day I spend looking for equipment.


2011-01-11

Ken's birthday party 2011

Great time had by all. Well, any one who mattered. Was there drama? Of course there was drama. We are Safe Haven after all. Still, learn to walk between the drops of rain.

Field Data
Title Ken's birthday 2011
Description This is Ken's birthday party 2011. They have a lovely home. I'm pretty sure everyone who showed up had a good time. I did. I just wish I could show all the clips.
Tags birthday party fun family friends 2011 home house fire pit piggyback canon 940IS fort bend Ft bend Texas
Link Link


2011-01-10

New machine: UPDATED

I ordered the machine from Directron. I called the next day. It will be ready tomorrow. I called the third day. No one picked up in the three minutes I had to devote to the task. Bill picked me up and ran me over to pick up the box. It was not ready. They are big on getting things out so they threw it together right then. The issue was the extra RAM I needed. Walked out with the box.

Got the system home. Hooked it up to a monitor. Ubuntu would not install. It said something about "cannot mount cdrom". I try the USB drive. Same thing. I decided to try Fedora just to make sure everything on the system works. Well, it did. I then decided to install KDENLive. This is the video software I use. It took me a full day to get it working and none of the codecs worked. Bah. I'm going to make Ubuntu work.

After a bit of research and some trial and error, I found that the "Try Ubuntu without installing" option on the boot uses a different configuration than the rest of the install options. I tried it and it work.d There is an install icon on the desktop after you boot. I did have to remove the video card to get things to install.

The install went quickly. As soon as it was up and running, I set my static IP, installed bunch of software including KDENLive, flash, Chrome and a couple others. Then I put the video card in and got it working through the Ubuntu driver upgrade program. All of this was done in less time than it took me to get one program installed on Fedora. I'm sold again. I reminded Nat to remind me how much I hate Fedora for this reason. She reminded me that I had reminded her of this last time.

I thought about complaining about getting the codecs working on the new computer. It is always something. Right now only the mpeg2 codec really works. The quality blows, but I can get things up on YouTube. I've been here before. I will eventually figure it out.

Announces

  • The case I got costs $18. It is flimsy.
  • The computer is kind of noisy.
  • The drive light doesn't work. That is, it lights up the inside of the box by the back fan somewhere.
  • The USB ports are upside down. The logo on my USB drive is on the bottom.
  • The home key brought up the default email. I found the setting for such an abomination, but it didn't fix when I changed it. I use the home key all the time. I even need it for video editing.
  • Somehow, the numeric keypad was being used for mouse control at some point. Fortunately, the place where this setting is changed actually did it's job and stopped the trouble. I have no idea how I made it do that. It was not doing it at first.

I imagine it will take me a while to get the h264 codec working. It was supposed to have worked straight out of the box. I imagine if I were running a 32 bit build, it would have. This will mean I need to get the stable build of the library off the net and figure out how to build it myself. Then comes the effort of getting KDENLive to recognize and use it. It is so much effort for so little return. I has to be done. I need either h264 or mpeg4. I have to get the audio codecs to work as well.

UPDATE

To get h264 and mpeg4 working in KDENLive, go to synaptic and search on ffmpg. Look for all codec packs that say "unstripped" in the title. Select them all. Then, in KDENLive, re run the configuration wizard and restart the program.

Now, I just need to figure out how to get my home key back and I'm in business.

Roland the Nomad has moved on

A very dear friend of ours from Texas Renaissance Festival has died. He was one of those people who stayed in garb the whole time. He loved photography and camping with tons of amenities.

His name was Roland. He called himself Roland the Nomad. He drove a big white van that he drove in from Dallas every weekend. He brought extra. He had a good heart. He was a helpful man. He was willing to teach. He was willing to cook. Nat and I camped in one of his tents occasionally.

He gave us a slide show last Faire season on his iPad. He had gone to several shows and gave us a narration of the effort. I really wish now I had videoed the whole thing. He loved people who liked to be different, out of the main stream a bit.

Roland had trouble walking long distances. This is a real problem when traversing TRF. Anyone who has spent a day there can vouch for this. Once, when Natalie was pregnant with Elle, the two of them walked together.

He will be missed.


2011-01-08

Flying cars

I like the second one better for some reason.

Fedora14

Getting KDENLive to work.

Find the Fusion Repository web page. Install the repos.

Go here and run the following command to install KDENLive.

yum --enablerepo=rpmfusion-free-updates-testing -y install kdenlive

Run KDENLive.

Apparently the repos for Fedora 14 are broken for MLT. Thanks guys. You suck.

I'm not going in to why I haven't used Ubuntu on this new system yet. I'm sure I'll complain about that later.

5000th post

Yup. On to 10000.


2011-01-06

Lunch Conversation

We walked to the local Oriental restaurant. They make great lunch dishes. I have no idea how to spell the name. It sounds like "fing ling". They have a hot sauce that is great on rice. Their meat glaze is amazing. There prices are reasonable too. Their egg rolls are okay. I like the place.

The video is just for show this time. Nothing deep here.

  • Opening a new office space.
    • Empty open office space is easier to lease out than spaces that are already walled in to offices.
    • You do not want to be the first person to rent in an office space. It has to do with the owners recovering their investment.
    • "So happy to see that office building near my home to get some tenants. Too bad it is going to kill the traffic."
  • Video games.
  • Past lives in dreams.
  • "Always talk to a sales person when you have a problem with an expensive item. It will get you faster and better help than support." This from a salesman.
  • Working at home
    • Is far more efficient for sales people.
    • You don't spend time talking to any one.
    • No one answers your emails, so there is no point in doing that either.
    • The spouse is at work and the kids are at school.
    • You do get tired of sitting though.
  • Our Thursday place appears to have suffered an upgrade in management. Something changed and not every one is pleased.

Field Data
Title Walking to lunch
Description That is pretty much it. This video is to augment the blog.
http://plastickelly.blogspot.com
Tags blog plastickelly lunch walking pedestrian cannon powershot sd940is Houston Texas Westheimer
Link Link

Big stuff in 2011

  • We video on TV
  • Cora or core - social q&a - What you want to do instead of who you know.
  • Mobile photo social apps.
  • Mobile wallets - mobile phones for making payments.
  • Context aware apps. Know where, who, what you are doing ...
  • Open places databases.
  • Streaming cloud. Your files and data are in the cloud, access anywhere.

These are lame things. I heard this on one of the year end podcasts. This was one from RRR in Australian.

VAT

The VAT (Value Added Tax) in the U. K. just went from 17.5% to 20%. The VAT is basically a national sales tax. A bunch of companies and stores are saying they will absorb the January first jump for a bit to soften the blow. This is a consumer tax. Consumers have to eventually pay it. It doesn't matter how long you wait. Most people do not get an increase in income. Taxes go up and wages stay the same. When you talk inflation, you are loosing money just standing there. People just don't have the scratch to keep buying the same things they used to.

Some folks say we in the States should go to a VAT type tax in the U. S.. You know, I'm all for it as long with the exact same stroke of the pen, they abolish the IRS, at least where wage earning is concerned. The IRS might still have duties for corporations and such. The American public is not stupid. We know our government wants to squeeze us from both sides.

The higher taxes go the larger the black economy grows. That is, the more things that show up on the black market. People start working off the books, because VAT is on services as well. Smuggling goes up. People start turning a blind eye to kit that just sort of turns up. It is a bad deal. There is a point at which people will stop participating in the official market if they cannot compete with the unofficial one. They have to eat.

I still like my idea of a constitutional amendment that says no one is responsible for paying more than 50% of all of their yearly income in taxes regardless of who gets the money or where it goes. So, if stat tax is 12% on income and , local tax is 5% on income, federal tax is 40% on income and all sales taxes come out to say 5% of a person's income (that is 62% of total income), then they would not end up paying more than 50% of their total income on all of it. There would have to be a priority of course. The paperwork would be a nightmare. It might be worth it.

Elle's New Year's Eve 2010

Yup. Thrill a minute at the Kelly compound.

Field Data
Title Elle's New Year's Eve 2010
Description It is just a thrill a minute at the zhsy00001 compound. Elle got to learn how to run the vacuum cleaner and her first sip of red wine New Year's Eve 2010.

Music from FreePD.com
Tags New Year's Eve 2010 vacuum attachments learning wine family fun house cleaning Houston Texas TX Canon PowerShot SD940IS freepd
Link Link

Russia

I've noticed a lot of Russians lately. It seems that online video places have large numbers of Russians. I don't know what the laws are in Russia involving videoing people, but they must be more lax than the rest of the world. Every other video that is people having sex in a public place or really horrible car crashes is from Russia. The number of people who are falling down drunk and repeatedly hurt themselves as they say the same thing over and over, while the bystanders laugh, is mind boggling. You would be hunted down in the States if you violated Someone's rights like that.

Recently, one of the vloggers I watch went to visit her family in Russia. Siberia actually. She is a California girl. She now has to deal with -45C temperatures. and Rubles. She showed the isle of the store devoted to vodka in the local grocery store.

There is an unfortunate trend in Russia of people pulling in front of someone and slamming on the breaks to collect the insurance. This causes many Russians to mount cameras aimed out the windshield. This is probably why so many Russian care accidents wind up on the Net.

Another source of online videos are the "roads" in rural Russia. People seem to accept the hared conditions of roads in the outback of Russia. The German army of WWII can attest that Eastern Russia was not meant for traversal during several months of the year. Winter brings mountains of shifting snow. Spring brings bog ... thousands of miles of bog. This leads to huge off road vehicles being swallowed up by rivers and such. There are a couple of normal looking semi trucks fording rivers that I would not want to shoot down in a raft.

Something else that was very interesting about the vlogger I mentioned above, she and her family sang a song while riding the bus to the store. That was really cool. There were a tone of people on the bus. How cool is that? She also mentioned that the food tastes so much better in Russia. She says it is because there are less preservatives. I think that what she is missing is much of the food that I've seen her eat in the vlogs has been fresh cooked by her family.

As cool as it is to watch videos of someone visiting their family in Russia, I still have no interest in visiting. I don't have anything against Russians, I've heard too many bad things about Americans visiting Russia. There are horror stories about being strong armed for bribes. Being targeted for fraud and receiving no support from the local authorities. These kinds of things can happen anywhere. The videos I'm getting out of Russia on the net are not helping me want to know more.

Notes:

Facebook is valued more than Boeing. Facebook will go public later this year so I hear. There was some number mentioned that sound like fifty billion dollars, U. S.. This is something like $100 per user. I'm calling bullshit on this one because I have not gotten $1 out of Facebook. If Facebook went belly up tomorrow, I would not miss it. I would welcome it.

Five thousand hours of Oprah re runs. No wonder she is opening up a new cable TV channel.

There is a movement afoot in the media to get people to think about housing as a consumable instead of an investment. This is a plot to get people used to moving around to follow the jobs.

We need to start reminding the world of the dark side of Christmas. The imps that will come take bad children away to work in the mines, or sink you to the bottom of the dark pool at the center of a dark enchanted forest where no one will ever find you.

There will soon be a big button on your remote that has the name of a company that you can hit and rent an on demand movie over the internet. It cracks me up how many people I know who are thinking about giving up cable all together for online rentals.

Handling a call where a customer talks to a human may cost between $6 and $30. A call handled by a robot costs between $0.05 and $0.25. They are trying to make the robots friendlier. It isn't really working. The concept of solving your problems by calling someone is on the way out. People expect to fix things via the web or an app now.

One of the podcasts went over all the political people who died last year. It was kind of scary listening to the list. It was impressive. It sounds like that generation from the sixties who grew up protesting is starting to dye off.

China has a choke hold on the rest of the world by supplying cheap labor and raw materials. They have driven many others out of business. This action is coming home to roost. Soon, the rest of the world is starting to get back online. However, an iPhone might cost $900 in two or three years based on these changes.

I've never watched a single episode of Jersey Shore. I hope I never do.

Someone brought this gigantic fruit muffin thing to work, sans label. It sat there most of the day on the counter in the lunch room. I survived lunch, but gave up the ghost when I didn't have change for the candy shelf at about 15:30. Once the first person was brave enough to slice the otherwise unidentifiable lump of brown matter, it went quickly.


2011-01-04

Day

Work tasks

  • Imaged a laptop. I do these in the background while doing other things. It only works about half the time. This is eating through DVDs.
  • Started the process to remove several dead devices from our inventory. This is far more involved than it sounds.
  • Round robin a drive in the backup server.
    • Ordered some new drives for future iterations of this task.
  • Did some IP work. New bits of hardware on the system and such.
  • Tracked down a strange bit of equipment.
  • Set up some new wireless routers.
  • Diagnosed and fixed some wireless issues. I'm starting to learn this wireless stuff.
  • Complained about a piece of equipment that was whistling like a banshee in one of the labs.
  • Pull five boxes out of boxes. find a place to store them.

Ordered a computer

I ordered a new computer for myself today. It will be done tomorrow, but I don't think I will be able to pick it up until Thursday.


2011-01-03

Monday

Wow, what a day.

Work

Today was the first day back after a long time off. You know how these things go. There is a huge pile of work waiting for you when you get back. Well, this time is a bit different because the whole company, minus a couple die hards and a couple new folks, get the same week. Very nice because of that lack of pile awfulness when you get back. Huge benefit of working where I work.

We have 10 computers showing up that were ordered late last year. They didn't make it in yet. This gave me the opportunity to get a bunch of other stuff done.

I spent a big slice of my day trying to make an image of a laptop. Semantic Ghost kept eating DVDs. I swapped burners and things started working again.

Played catch up from stuff that I didn't get done last year. Some things are still not done. It sucks. I have a bunch of wireless routers that I was hoping to get set up today, but this will happen tomorrow hopefully. One of the other tasks is a person who has a hard time getting a good signal and I hope this will fix his issue.

One of our users has an issue with his email. I asked him if he was typing or selecting a choice in one of the fields and he told me he was selecting. NOT. I had to bug Dan to get help and it boiled down to a bad text field entry. BAH!

Swapped out a video card for a cruddier video card that had no fan because the faster video card had a noisy fan that sounded like a cement mixer.

Elle

Elle heads back to school tomorrow. I cannot help but think that she is not prepared. Oh, she has her homework done for the most part. She has done a bunch of reading. However, she will be dragging some serious butt tomorrow. Her sleep schedule is off. We have tried to get her to sleep on time, but she wakes Nat up in the middle of the night by talking to herself in bed at all hours. I think I did the same thing when I was her age.

Thumb Drive

I have a 16G thumb drive. I use it at work and at home for all kinds of cool stuff. It of course disappeared over the long week. I left my other thumb drive at work, so no podcasts for me today at work. I've been fretting over this for a while. I would hate to have to buy another drive. I need one about that size for hauling ISO images around, and all kinds of other countenances.

I last remember having it when I switched backpacks Christmas day. My parents got me a nifty pack that is high quality. I'm not used to that. So, I search the old pack. I search the new pack. I dig out my genes and run through the pockets. I look at work today, even though I haven't been closer than riding by on Westheimer since before Christmas. I bugged my mom to look around their place. I turn our house upside down and shake. Nothing.

Nat looks for two minutes and finds it in my new pack. She got $5 for her trouble. That was all I had on me.

Commute

This morning I got to use my new flashlight on the way in. It works great. I shine it on the ground as I have gone over before and it really seems to help me seem to take up more space so people don't get so close.

Fell full on asleep on the bus on the way home. I didn't have any coffee today. The cup I fixed in the morning tasted like monkey nuts. I couldn't bring myself to face another. I got a Dr Pepper on the way home. Nat gave me a ride from the bus stop.

New computer

I have not had a chance to call Directron yet. I have sent them an email, but those tend to get lost on the holiday schedule. I'll have to make time for them tomorrow. I didn't even get lunch today trying to get caught up. I really really REALLY want that new computer. Of course, I want something not so standard so I'll have to deal with humans. BAH!

Tonight

Prey for me to get a good night's sleep. I didn't get a wink last night. I woke up after about two hours and maybe got another hour before heading to work.