Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

And they walked away

Mario Andretti Crash

On the page linked to above, click the “Mario Andretti crashes at IMS” link to see the video.

Unbelievable. He walked away from the crash.

Background: Mario, age 63, is doing testing for his son's IRL race
team, filling in for an injured driver. While testing at the track he
hit debris from an accident that had just happened, causing Mario to go
for a ride.

A similar incident happened at LeMans in 1999:
Mercedes Flip

This time is was just a poorly designed car. Believe it or not, Mark Webber flipped it two days in a row during practice, and then wisely refused to get back in it. A subsitute driver flipped it again during the race.

New technology, new old problems

I hate re-inventing the wheel… But that's what I've been doing all week. System Administration/IT work seems to involve a lot of this. For instance: Our development image is around 12gigs, and it takes about 4 hours to install/configure a laptop from scratch. We use Ghost to clone the setup onto the other machines. That involves booting off a dos floppy, installing the network drivers and transferring the hard drive image.

Well our new laptops don't have floppy drives, they also have gigabit ethernet hardware that I don't have Dos drivers for. I found drivers but not on the manufacturerer's or Dell's websites (that would have been too easy.) I then had to learn how to make a bootable CD with everything I needed. This generally involves making a bootable floppy and then transfering the image to the CD. This was yet another ordeal, but after much frustration I found Bart's Bootdisks which simplified matters. The docs were a bit weird.. I went through 9 CDs until I got everything sorted out.


Game On

We moved offices this week. The servers and related gear arrived last night. Reloading the racks, and properly wiring things took some time, but we're back in business. The T1 just worked (actually it became active while I was trying to find out if it was on.) With everything properly rebuilt it was just a matter of hitting the power switches.

…it also looks like my call to building maintainence worked… I just noticed the AC turned on. Now I don't have to hang out in the server room just to keep cool.

Swank Gear

It's finally here! My new Dell D800, 1.6Ghz Centrino with a WUXGA (1900×1200) LCD. (I ordered it 3/12, the day it was announced.) When I first fired it up I was impressed, but not overwhelmed. That is until I sat it next to my older Dell Inspiron 5000E with the 1st gen UXGA screen. The image quality is unbelievable. It really has to be seen to be appreciated.

I'm still loading a ton of shit on it (XP Pro, Visual Studio .NET 2003, SQL2K, VS6, Visio Enterprise, Mozilla, Cygwin, Intellij Idea, JBoss, CVS… ) I haven't really had a chance to put it through it's paces. I'm not even sure what a good test of speed is, other than a full compile of our middle tier.

The rest of the machine scores well too. Good keyboard action, very quiet, not too hot,, solid feel, good sound, wireless + 1gig Ethernet… it all adds up to a sweet rig. I feel no longer have any regrets about passing on the developer workstations I spec'd out and built last month. I just need to order a spare power supply so I don't have to cart the damn thing back and forth to work every day.

We ordered 4 identical machines. I think my coworkers will be very happy when they get their hands on them.


Some wang(s) cracked our mail server at work Sunday. Fortunately, nothing but time was lost in the process. Chris has some good ideas for tackling the work that followed.

What he forgot to mention was:

Be Paranoid. Since, I'm often an asshole, so I know how to think like one. Expect any/all common helpful commands to be compromised. I think in retrospect the best thing to have done would have been to immediately cut the power to the box. Once down we could have then booted off a CD and inspected what happened safely.

(fsck be damned. You should be using a journaled filesystem anyway…)

I wasn't thinking quite that sharply, but I did avoid a few landmines. We saw that shutdown was altered, and while poking around we triggered some process that was trying to “rm -rf *” part of the filesystem. Fortunately, we umounted the vital partitions first (after kill -9'ing a lot of now suspect processes.)

The timing was quite amazing. We are in the process of moving offices, and in the middle of a huge release with a completely unrealistic timeframe. All our furniture was moved yesterday. This morning the phone guys helped out by accidentally tearing out our T1 and phone system.

At that point I starting to get nervous… what next a meteor impact?

The new install kicks ass. This isn't the way I wanted to do it, but I'm glad it's done. We now have a shitpile of storage, and a much more modern distribution. I also replaced horde with Squirrel Mail. It's vastly simpler to install/maintain and provides some nice additional features.

nobody's home

Another Saturday, another batch of trespassers trying to steal my time, money and/or soul.

I can't remember the last time I was pleasantly surprised by the doorbell. This weekend is no different. A quick look out the peephole confirms it's obviously no one I know. I'm irritated, but that is at least partially offset by the pleasure of making them stand outside unfulfilled.

For some reason Deb tries to pretend we're not home. She turns down the TV and hides. I'm angered seeing how we (royal we) are conditioned to stop what ever we are doing, to answer the phone/doorbell. So much so that we are uncomfortable ignoring their call. Why do they get such priority? This is probably the biggest reason I dislike mobile phones. Ringing my doorbell is an order of magnitude more aggravating. This is my fortress of solitude… and from a security standpoint, why would I give any random jack-off a chance to come in and case the place. No one in their right mind has a guest account on their coporate network. Why is this any different?

As it turns out it this time it was a bunch of bible beaters (as evidenced by the pamphlet left behind.)

It's a shame I can't go to Pier One and buy a nice sisal door mat with “FUCK OFF” boldly emblazoned on it. That would be something I could really use.

Us too

Like Chris and Barb, this week also marked our wedding anniversery (Our 4th.) I made it back from Houston in time for us to celebrate by lazing around and going to sleep early. Hooray! (We both worked later than usual, so we postponed a good dinner out for a few days.)

Chris sees a remarkable amount of change during his relationship, I find it remarkable how little Deb and I have changed during our time together. With little need for compromise, I think we've mostly reinforced each other's personalities. I believe it works so well, because by the time we met each other, our personalities had been forged into workable forms by prior relationships. First love sounds like a great idea, but from experience, I'm not sure I'd want to comit to an Alpha release.

Generosity Starts…

…with other peoples time.

(note to business contacts: Don't be offended by my grumbling. I'm a good soldier, but bitching is prime blog-fodder.)

So I get to fly out for business today (Sunday). If I had flown out tomorrow morning I wouldn't have arrived until 11am. They want to start at 9am. I was also booked on a flight that leaves at 3pm with a 3 hour layover in Atlanta. The flight leaving at 8pm only has a 30 minute layover.

Even if my time is worth nothing, we could have billed out 4 hours of my travel time tomorrow (weekday) , but only 2 hours of today's travel time.

I understand the reason for business travel, but I rarely seem to see anyone acknowledge the costs to the traveler (except of course the traveler himself.) I happen to love my wife, my king-sized waterbed, and all the other stuff I'm leaving behind when I travel. There should be some incentive for doing it, like combat pay, or something. I'm sure good work is appreciated (or more likely expected), but my psyche is happier with a tighter/more concrete sacrifice->reward feedback loop. Normally when I book my own business travel, I'll tack on a vacation day or two to explore like my .Net Advisory Council meetings. That can actually make the trip seem fun.

Also the 10th is our 4th ( Fruit/Flowers) wedding anniversary (the real one, not the sham we invited our friends & family to… but the handshake, kiss, and subsequent $3000 tax refund that marked the start of our commitment to each other. (PA still has common-law marriages… and no you don't have to live together for 7 years. Read the law )

With luck, things will be go well and I'll be able to come home early for it. Also, I at least know it can't be as bad as my first business trip 8 years ago, when I essentially re-coded the my entire project on-site (can import data from a network != a multi-user client/server database application.)

Also with luck, I'll get to Houston tonight. I'm taking the later flight, but I'm on standby. I called Airtran and confirmed that there are plenty of empty seats… but it sure would suck to be stuck in ATL overnight.


Saw this in the referrer log today:

That's sweet. I knew it was bogus, but it still got me thinking… What's the relative likelihood that I was on a watchlist? Wait… actually that really sucks.

excuse me while I whip this out

I pulled my crank out today. At nearly 2 feet long and 40lbs it's so big it's scary.

I had a stuck crank pulley nut, I pulled it and I yanked it, but I just couldn't get it off. I finally busted it with some help from a dremel and a cold chisel. It wasn't easy, I really had to whack it.

Yes, I am 12 years old.

Return top