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You think I’d learn.. September 23, 2008 at 1:27 am

not to update late a night or when I don’t have a lot of free time on my hands, but I figured, eh.. update from MT 4.1 to 4.21 can’t be that big a change, right?   Well as you can see, it broke the layout/widgets somehow and it’s not clear how.  I’ll have to fix when I get a chance.   Basically had to flip layout to get sidebar to show up at all and everything is squished.  Bah.

ImageMagick… had issues, again. May 26, 2008 at 11:02 pm

Found my system run out of ram a few times lately.  Just again tonight.  Found there’s a fairly well known bug in ImageMagick in re: to in gcc-4.2.x (See this Gentoo bug entry for an example).  Didn’t see any openmp flag check in the ebuild for imagemagick so I added the –disable-openmp bit to configure and re-emerged imagemagick and it’s ok now.

So if you tried to comment recently and it never came back… sorry.  Should be fixed now.  Will try to comment to this myself to make sure.

Haven’t had a reason to complain about Microsoft in awhile… February 23, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Boy do I have a reason now though.  I now have had 2 out of 3 Xbox 360’s fail.  That is so pathetic. 

I’ve had gaming consoles going back to the original 8bit NES (and we had an old Pong system in the 70’s that my dad bought) and I don’t remember any ever having issues on the level the 360 has had.  Yeah, eventually (after several years) the NES and Coleco systems both suffered from oddities where you had to do things like blow in the cartridge slot and/or cartridge itself… click the NES game up and down a bunch of times to get it to lock properly, or you’d suffer graphics glitches.  However, they continued to work long past the time the next gen consoles came out and still worked by the time they were retired.  


D’oh January 28, 2007 at 5:40 pm

[ Listening: B Minor from the album “Elm Street” by Lanterna ]

So I just had my 34th birthday. That didn’t really make me feel old. What did just make me feel kind of old is catching up on some Tivo’d Simpsons episodes and hearing Homer mention his age. I just realized that when the show first came out, I was 16 years old… and now I’m almost as old as Homer! Ahhhh!

His age has fluctuated a bit over the years, but on the ep I just watched, Homer claimed to be 38. I remember one of the commentaries on one of the DVDs had Groening and others that make the show making a similar observation (of course there were a bit older then 16 when the show started and they’re now all older then Homer).

SAFE my ass… October 29, 2006 at 5:12 pm

[ Listening: Linger from the album “20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Cranberries” by The Cranberries ]

Returning home this past Wednesday night (Oct 25th) I almost had an accident. I took the ramp from the 52 east to the I-15 south, and there was a lot of traffic ahead, so I got onto the Balboa Ave ramp to avoid it by taking Ruffin Rd. down to Aero Dr. Just after getting into the Balboa ramp, some idiot in a pickup truck cut over without warning, and I had to slam on my brakes (thankfully I have anti-lock breaks). Said idiot then proceeds to pass 10 or so cars, then dangerously cuts back into the lane of traffic again. So aside from 2 dangerous lane changes, we have illegal passing on the right (on top of that, I believe it’s also illegal to use an exit lane to pass someone).

The real kicker… it was one of these trucks:

Fsp Truck-1
Click here for info on the program.. sorry pic is so small, but that’s all I saw on the site.

Notice the nice large printing of SAFE standing for some program on the blue depiction of San Diego county.

Clearly they don’t screen drivers worth a damn for that program.

An actual positive experience with the IRS! March 4, 2006 at 10:23 am

[ Viewing: “Star Trek Voyager – The Complete Seventh Season” (Jonathan Frakes, Anson Williams) ]

Yes, you read that right, I actually had a positive experience with the IRS. So in effect, this is almost an anti-rant…

A couple weeks ago I received a form from the IRS informing me that my 2004 taxes had a problem. My filed income didn’t match what had been submitted to them from employers and such. I had sold some options in 2004 and had the taxes withheld by my employer just as I had in the past. For some reason, E-trade filed a 1099-B this time listing the sales, worse they were listed at their gross sale values and listed taxes withheld as none. This had never happened in the past when I’d sold options, clearly something had changed at E-trade. I remember noting this when I did my taxes, but since I couldn’t find a way to list options sold yet mark them as already covered in another income stream, and I’d sold options in the past and didn’t have to list them, so I didn’t worry at the time.

Anyway, I only had a few days left before the deadline for responding to the form, so I called the listed number to get an extension in order to talk to a tax person to find out the best way to respond to ensure no more problems. After about 10 minutes of voicemail menus, then a good 20 minutes more of recordings, I got to sit on hold and listen to the Nutcracker Suite on hold for another 1/2 hour or so. Finally I got to a human.

After a few minutes explaining what the deal was and asking what I needed to do to get an extension, the support person offered to fix the issue for me… if I wanted. Of course I said yes. After a few minutes of hearing him typing he came back to let me know that he’d filled in the information to clear up the problem, I should get an official response from the IRS within 30 days letting me know the issue is fixed, and that was it.

Here I was expecting to have to deal with a bunch of tax law crap, pay for a CPA to help refile an amended return, etc. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone having such a positive experience with the IRS or their support staff, but I guess there’s s first time for everything.

The Joy of Cooking…. January 29, 2006 at 9:30 pm

[ Viewing: “Frasier – The Complete Fifth Season” (Paramount) ]

Woohoo! I finally have a working oven again. Bought my new Smooth top oven a good 9 months ago, if not more. Bought the new fridge, and washer and dryer at the same time. It was a switch from gas to electric (I wanted the smooth top for easy cleaning.. cooking with gas is nice but cleaning the thing sucked) and there was no line to use there.

My parents paid (thanks again guys) to have it hooked up finally. So I had to cook a little something just to break it in.. just made something easy.. eggs.

For those wondering why it took me so long to get it hooked up… I tend to let things, shall we say, sit undone. Just a bit of a procrastinator if it’s not obvious. Anyway, the same guys that hooked it up today were going to do it awhile ago, but I had started to talk to people about getting central heat and A/C installed and figured as long as I was going to have that electrical work done, I’d have them do it all in one shot… then that fell through. So they decided to use my birthday to get someone out to finally just do the work. So I’m up and running… now I can more healthy stuff again.

…and we’re back. January 10, 2006 at 10:59 pm

[ Viewing: “Frasier – Eight Season Pack (Includes Seasons 1-7, 11)” (Paramount Home Video) ]

Finally back online this morning after the cable modem was out since Sunday early afternoon. Turns out it was a bad cable drop from the pole to the house, exactly like I figured.

seem to be getting better bandwidth then I did ever before too.

People don’t know what it takes to do IT support.. December 24, 2005 at 12:13 pm

[ Viewing: “Battlestar Galactica – Season 2.0” (Mca Home Video) ]

I like to read the letters to the editor on the website of our local newspaper The Union-Tribune, and today I read one that just grabbed my attention:

Off the shelf and on sale

The San Diego City Council approved spending $272,300 to increase its electronic database capacity from 160 gigabytes to 240 gigabytes. A Fry’s insert in the Union-Tribune has a 300 gigabyte hard drive for $99 after a rebate. I’ll pick one up, and sell that to the city for $200,000 and save it $72,300. I’d be happy to keep the difference.

And we wonder why the city is in a financial crisis.

La Jolla

With all due respect to Mr. Glenn, he has no idea what it takes to do IT support for an organization, especially what it takes to serve data, keep it online and secure, etc. So I decided to send in my own letter in response:

Regarding the letter “Off the shelf and on sale,” of Dec 23rd. As someone
that works in IT, I regularly hear our users make the same assumptions: If
you can buy a large drive at Fry’s to slap into your PC, that’s the cost the
company should pay for data storage. However, this is ignoring what it takes
to actually serve data to a decently sized orgainization and to protect that

Data, like a database, for any decently sized company, or for government
entities is something that has to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In order to do this, one has to have a lot of redundency. This redundency
adds to the cost of a storage system. Any decent system will have redundant
and hot-swappable disks, power supplies, fans, network cards, etc; all to
protect against hardware failures. On top of this, there’s always the chance
that the data could become corrupted, or human error could destroy the data.
There’s also disaster recovery to plan for, perhaps a fire or earthquake
damages the computer room and equipment beyond repair. Therefore you now
have to include a backup system and offsite storage of some backups. A
backup system will need to store multiple copies of the data over time, and
the backup and restore times will likely need to be as short as possible,
again driving up the price. While the price quoted ($272,300) might be a bit
high, it is not fair to compare this price to a single hard drive.

Anyone that thinks that simply buying that one hard drive and slapping it into
a PC to serve up data to an organization would find themselves out of a job
the first time any data was lost. Some people don’t realize such data likely
represents 10’s of thousands of man hours of work, and millions of dollars of
a company’s Intellectual Property (or the government’s data). When you
realize this, the cost for a highly available and redundant system (with
backups) suddenly isn’t easily compared to the cost of one hard drive.

We’ll see if they publish it or not.

Oops.. I forgot to spell check it before sending it.. I hope I didn’t make too many mistakes. 🙂

My good deed for the day… October 29, 2005 at 7:28 pm

[ Viewing: “Star Wars – Episode II, Attack of the Clones (Widescreen Edition)” (George Lucas) ]

While walking Summer this evening, I came across a wallet in the parking lot of the condos on Ruffin. Noone was around, though someone came by a minute later. I asked if they had an office, but nope.. nothing for a lost and found to turn it in to. So I’ve got the wallet.. unfortunately, there’s no phone numbers in here, and all searches on the net for the name turned up nothing.. bummer. Guess I’m going to see if I can turn it into the police tomorrow (or Monday, not sure if office is open on Sun). Oh yeah, for those that don’t already know me that well, I live just a bit behind the Eastern Division police office on Aero Dr, so I go by it at least twice every day.

Makes me realize.. it’s probably a good idea to include some kind of card or paper in your wallet with your phone number on it in case you lose it and someone wants to call.

So if you happen to read this and lost your wallet in the condos there (the white ones adjacent to the police station in fact) shoot me an email. Of course I wouldn’t give the wallet to anyone other then the guy on the driver’s license. Oh and I hope you didn’t have any cash in here before, because it was empty when I found it.

There is one odd thing I should note.. the wallet appears to be brand new, and the stuff in it is really recent.. wonder if it’s really a lost wallet or someone doing an experiment to see if it gets returned but wanted it to look authentic? eh.. long shot but you never know.

Update: I guess I should also note that the DL lists an address up in Carlsbad.. which is why I didn’t just drop it off right away. If it’d had an address around here, I’d have dropped it off already. Hmm… maybe I should mail it? Though probably not a good idea if the guy’s moved recently and just doesn’t have an updated DL.

Update (Mon): Stopped by the Police station on the way to work this morning and dropped it off. They do, in fact, take them and try to track down the people somewhat. The officer even noted that at least his DL was in there so it shouldn’t be too hard.. said that many come in with no ID at all. When I mentioned the original Social Security card was in there too, he just shook his head.