Today Roger started a chain letter of sorts amongst many friends. It was one of the ones with a bunch of fairly random questions. It was interesting to see the answers and the teasing of some due to their answers. However I think my favorite quote was from Lisa "I didn't know boys did these things." I say this mostly since while working at an all girls school with laptops these type of emails are always floating around. Fun times.
March 2005 Archives
In an effort to help parents and others understand the epidemic that is spyware on our student laptops I wrote up a paper on it. It can be seen here. It is not the most technical of pieces since it was written for a very broad audience. I tried to explain the concepts and give some level of detail. Parts of it speak directly to my school, however much of it applies everywhere.
Oh and for you Mac zealots like a certain friend don't bother poking holes in my myths section. It has already been done.
Well I got into the iPod diagnostics yesterday and poked around. I ran every disk and memory diag I could find and all came back clean. However still not working well. It seems that it is having problems filling the play buffer. After about 4-5 minutes of struggling the iPod seems to work fine and continues on. However, this is when I am listening to an audiobook where it is a solid stream. I am not sure what would happen if it was playing songs where it had to start and stop streams over and over. More testing, but I may still end up getting a new 2G 6GB mini.
I think my iPod is dying. If it isn't held at about a 30 degree angle it refuses to play anything normally. Lots of breakups and such. I just checked and iPods have a one year warranty. The best though is this quote from the iPod Support FAQ:
"Apple offers two service options for iPods that are no longer within warranty. If your iPod, iPod photo, U2 iPod or iPod mini requires service only because the battery�s ability to hold an electrical charge has diminished, Apple will replace your iPod for a service fee of $99, plus $6.95 shipping.
If you own an iPod, iPod photo or U2 iPod and it requires service for any other issue, Apple will replace your iPod for a service fee of $249, plus $6.95 shipping. iPod mini customers can receive out of warranty service for $199, plus $6.95 shipping and handling."
This is so sad it is almost funny. For those of you not in the know an iPod Mini only costs $199 new. Why in the world would I have it fixed if I could get a new one for the same price. What is that?
During all the Illini games leading up to the Elite 8 game last Saturday I had either been on the phone or out with a friend of mine. I was worried Saturday as the Illini kept falling farther and farther behind. Then when things looked most bleak with the Illini down 15 points my friend called. I turned off the game, but turned it back on later to see that the Illini were able to tie it up and then win in overtime. Hopefully the good luck holds for the Illini all the way to the championship.
On Sunday I watched two movies. First Roger, Travis and I rented Saw. It was pretty good if not quite what I expected. It was more a thriller with a fair amount of gore rather than a horror film. Very similar to Se7en. If you liked Se7en you will probably like this.
The second movie on Sunday was Million Dollar Baby. It was very good and probably even deserving of all the Oscars it won. It is very sad however, I may have shed a tear or two. I won't give away the ending as many others have though. I would recommend it as it is really well done.
Over my long weekend I played with my linux test machine running Gentoo. I upgraded all the latest patches and such. After I was done they released 2005.0, however I had already integrated all the patches it contains. I even managed to get sound working in KDE on the box. Now the question is will it work instead of XP for its main purpose which is playing mame, being an arcade and all.
Today was the 14th annual Iron Egg Smash Off. It is hosted by Colleen's parents. There was a field of 128 eggs this year with 2 entries from almost everyone. To the left you will see my eggs. If you want to see Roger and Travis's click here. This year the event ocurred very early in the year due to Easter being very early. It was quite cold. My Illini egg lost in the first round and the Rainbow Warrior (Rainbow Brite to some) only made it to the second round. Travis made it the farthest. One of his eggs lost to the eventual champion and the other lost to the runner up, a very good showing.
4:30 PM - Arrive at Jerry and Karri's.
5:15 PM - Leave with Megain for dinner.
5:30 PM - Dinner at Carrabba's.
6:30 PM - Head to Metro.
7:00 PM - Get on Metro.
8:00 PM - Get to 9:30 Club.
8-9:00 PM - Stand outside.
9:00 PM - Doors open.
9-10:00 PM - Stand inside. We got in pretty quick and were about 5 people back from stage.
10:00 PM - Opening band Blonde Redhead starts playing.
10:00-10:30 PM - They um play. The band consisted of a pair of twins, one on drums and the other on guitar (bass?). One of my pet peeves at concerts is when the mix is so off that you can barely tell the singer is singing let alone understand it. One of my favorite sayings applies here, the only thing worse than bad music is really loud bad music. This was painfully loud.
10:30-11:30 PM Standing.
11:30 PM - Interpol starts.
11:30-12:45 AM - Interpol plays. In comparison to the first band they are fantastic. Which isn't saying much but there you have it. They were pretty good and I could even hear and understand some of the lyrics. At this point in the evening the croud kept getting thicker and trying to move forward. It was a little tiring.
1:10 AM - Get on Metro
2:15 AM - Get to car.
2:45 AM - Get Megan home.
3:15 AM - Get me home.
3:30 AM - Sleep.
Oh and 8:00 AM get up. Tired I am.
Last night I did some maintenance on both our Bluecoat Web Cache and our Nokia / Checkpoint firewall. The bluecoat was a very straightforward upgrade, they have made the process almost painless other than a few minute reboot.
The Nokia / Checkpoint upgrade isn't hard, just harder relatively. Some of you may be saying I thought Nokia only makes phones, well no they make some of the best hardened firewall boxes out there. You then layer on top Checkpoint's Firewall-1 product and you are set. The main reason I bring this up is prior to the upgrade the firewall had an uptime of 337 days. Which is pretty damn amazing I must say. In these days of daily security exploits to have a box not need upgrading for a year and not have problems.
Anyway back to the upgrade. It is a couple step process. First, you must download the latest IPSO (Nokia Operating System) and the latest Checkpoint software and hotfixes. Next, it is a good idea to clean up the logs and such since if you don't you will run out of hard drive space, which I learned the hard way last time. Then, you upgrade the IPSO. At this point you have to console in usually since FW-1 doesn't start and the box is totally locked down from a network standpoint. After you gain access again you then run the checkpoint package (install), these needs to be run from a command line. Reboot the box once more and if necessary apply checkpoint hotfixes. Took maybe an hour at most. An hours downtime a year isn't bad.
Also I must thank Dan who has forgotten more about Nokia and Checkpoint than I will ever know. He gave me a couple of quick pointers. Also Nokia's tech support is great, they even support Checkpoint so one call does it all. The Nokia / Checkpoint combo isn't cheap either intially or yearly but you get what you pay for. Highly recommended.
Ok so I don't drink caffeine often. I don't drink coffee and I rarely have soda anymore except when I go out to eat or movies. As a result caffeine hits me pretty hard sometimes. You would think I would realize this, but oh no. On Sunday I had a huge Coke Slurpee (probably my favorite beverage ever created) and then couldn't sleep well. Kept waking up every hour or so, fun times. To make matters worse I did the same thing on Monday and even later in the day. I didn't leave work until 7:30 PM and got dinner on way home including a Slurpee. I didn't finish it until almost 9 PM. Same sleep problem.
Last night I actually didn't have any caffeine and went to bed about 9 PM. However continuing a semi recent trend I had dream that scared me and woke me up to the point that I jumped out of bed and stood there looking at my bed like something was wrong with it. This is especially odd for me since traditionally I don't even remember dreaming period let alone content of the dreams. Hopefully tonight will be normal.
I really need to brush up on my paper airplane skills. I seem to have lost them since grade school.
After the first week and two rounds of the NCAA tourney I am not in the lead in points, but I am in second place for possible points. The only problem at this point is everything hinges on the Illini. If they go down so do I. I guess I need to cheer for them.
The students left last Thursday afternoon and won't return until Tuesday the 29th. Friday we relaxed a bit. Got to watch some of the NCAA tournament on our big LCD during lunch. Hopefully next week I can fix some nagging problems that I never seem to get a chance to get to.
Last weekend Roger and Jim and I went to see Be Cool. Mostly the movie was full of John Travolta playing his character from the Get Shorty and not in a good way. The movie was about the music industry rather than the movie industry this time. To push this point there were at least 3 scenes where the main character sings. The problem was they played the entire song beginning to end. The scenes consisted of the character singing and then John Travolta and someone else bobbing their head and snapping for five minutes. The scenes really ground the movie to a halt.
Last night I watched Robots. The first good part was the Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith trailer. The movie had amazing visuals, the look of the metal and the backgrounds was really good. It had a lot of stars in it, some casting was good others were so so. The story was slow at points but had some very funny parts as well. There were also a lot of site gags and homages to other films such as Star Wars. One of my favorite gags was the restroom doors with a power socket on one and a plug on the other. If you like Pixar and other similar films highly recommended, if don't then you probably won't like this either.
Today on DVD with Roger and Travis I watched Flight of the Phoenix. It was a good action/adventure flick. It had a good premise and was even mildly believable. It had a nice ensemble cast too. I would recommend it if you just want a nice popcorn distraction flick.
Another week of solid workout and another 2 pounds lost. Slow and steady.
Well the 123 old machines are beginning to be shipped back today. I can't say I am sorry to see them go. So far the replacement tablets have been good and even the S2's look ok.
As most of you know I work at a school. Today was the senior skits. Usually the seniors take this opportunity to rib the faculty. This year they decided to include the tech and maintenance departments. The ending of the skit had the lights go out and alarms sound. Then a voice came on and said "You are nothing without the network." Lastly they put the picture you see to the side on about a 30 ft screen. The best part is that apparently some faculty and staff think the picture is doctored or photoshoped. I am affraid to see it is totally real. You can go get the 1992 Hayfield Secondary yearbook to verify.
Played Mercenaries a bunch yesterday and today. I think I am on the final boss level now. It has been a fun game lots to blow up. Took me about 25 hours to beat.
Well luckily ESPN's Friday night prediction was correct. Illinois won the semi-finals and then also won the finals. They are now a number 1 seed in NCAA tournament. Hopefully they can make it far in that if not all the way.
Well I actually managed to work out everyday last week (M-F) and as result lost 3.5 pounds. Yeah me. If I can only keep it up.
As I was checking out the scores from the various basketball tourneys I happened to look at EPSN. I went and looked at the Big Ten Tournament results and found something interesting you will see to the left, click for larger more readable version. If you will notice the time I took this screenshot at about 11 PM on Friday EDT. The interesting note is that ESPN lists Illinois as playing in finals against the winner of another game. Only problem is Illinois hasn't made it to that round yet. Many may thing it is a forgone conclusion but who knows. Oops. Hopefully they have predicted it right and not jinxed us.
There wasn't much doubt but it is nice to know for sure. I got my new contract for next year at work. Which also means I now know what my pay/raise will next year as well. Good to know.