Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Jedi Knight 2

Nice help page here.

Monday, February 23, 2004

The Horrors of Tech support.

I can't recommend this article enough. I don't work in an environment nearly this bad, but I can still sympathise with Ken in this article. You'll have to sign up for a day-pass at Salon, but it's pretty painless. No info required.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


The above acronym stands for Do You Know Who I Am. There are stories floating around out there that Kerry has a serious problem with this. Here's an anecdote from, surprisingly, Dave Barry (yanked from Back of the Envelope, the article isn't available online):

In conclusion, I want to extend my sincere best wishes to all of my opponents, Republican and Democrat, and to state that, in the unlikely event I am not elected, I will support whoever is, even if it is Sen. John Kerry, who once came, with his entourage, into a ski-rental shop in Ketchum, Idaho, where I was waiting patiently with my family to rent snowboards, and Sen. Kerry used one of his lackeys to flagrantly barge in line ahead of us and everybody else, as if he had some urgent senatorial need for a snowboard, like there was about to be an emergency meeting, out on the slopes, of the Joint Halfpipe Committee. I say it's time for us, as a nation, to put this unpleasant incident behind us. I know that I, for one, have forgotten all about it. That is how fair and balanced I am.

I wonder how many of these incidents there are, and whether this will impact his campaign. Makes him seem like kind of a jerk.

Treasure Planet

Rented it last night, along with Johnny English. I haven't viewed the latter, but I watched a good portion of Treasure Planet, and my verdict is: mediocre. It's not terrible, it just isn't memorable in any significant way. I would have gotten Lost In Translation, but they were out of them at "Hollywood".

Speaking of Lost in Translation, it got me to thinking. My official title is "Complex Translations Analyst." My group is usually generically referred to as "Translations." So I'm thinking a good blog name for me or someone like me would be "Lost in Translations."

Windows Server 2003

The server we are using to do off hours scripts has just been updated. One question I have about remote desktop application is: Why would you give the remote desktop user, whether an administrator or not, the ability to power down the machine? Or at least why do they leave the button to shutdown in the same place? It seems like a sure method for causing the occasional accidental shutdown.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Bush Air Guard Stuff

There's been a big to-do about whether or not Bush served his full term of service in the Air Guard. What I can't figure out is, who cares? Other than people who've already got an ax to grind. I mean, it's rather obvious he was using family connections to avoid war service. If this didn't bother you in the last election, it shouldn't matter to you that he didn't spend the full time in this rather pointless assignment. I just can't believe that a fence-sitting voter is going to go, "Hmmm. He skipped Vietnam, which was ok. But he should have gone to Alabama!"

Thursday, February 12, 2004


In honor of Valentine's day, I reference this Dave Barry article.

Notable Quotable
That's why, in male-female conversations, the male part often consists entirely of him going ''hmmmm.'' This frustrates the woman, who wants to know what he's really thinking. In fact, what he's thinking is, literally, ``hmmmm.''

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Mike's back, and bigger than ever!

Metaphorically speaking. Mike has been blogging up the storm upon his return. I think he's written more since his return than he did during his first month. BTW, I whole-heartedly agree with this post.

Programming Updates
I've been enhancing my "Switch Connection" software recently. I was never a big fan of Object Oriented programming, since most of the things I've needed to do were more in the scripting or "write it once, then forget it" zone. However, after tweaking the original program for about a year I decided to make this a Perl Class, and to add various methods and properties to it. This has worked out extremely well, since I have to keep making fundamental changes to the software as I extend its uses. For instance, today I created a "password reset" program to reset a single user's password in all of our cities. This required a complete change in the way the software logged in, but because I had broken each piece of the login stage into sub-functions, it only require a few additional lines of code to add this enhancement. Pretty neat.

Global Warming/Cooling?
There's been some buzz around the global warming blogs/sites regarding this report. Apparently some pentagon think tank guys have decided that rapid climate change is quite possible in the near future, and they are worried about it. If you'd like to worry about it too, go read it.

Traffic Update
This morning, a pretty young lady decided that waiting to reach the red light to perform a U-turn was too much trouble, so she just hung a left across the grass median. I barely missed her, since I don't normally have to worry about this and wasn't looking in her direction until I was almost on top of her(I was just turning right onto this road, and so I was look left for the all clear). I have two messages for this woman. First, your car isn't really made for that kind of maneuver, and you could've gotten stuck. Secondly, you owe me a new pair of underwear.

I've been listening to the Weird Al Stuff Mike found on the Web. I think my favorites are the "Taxman" Parody "Pacman", and "It's Still Billy Joel To Me."

American Idol. Sigh. I'm ashamed to say I've been keeping up with this recently. I managed to ignore the first two seasons, but the Gong-Show quality of the early rounds finally hooked me. I missed it last night, now that they've worked the awful people out, it's not as much fun.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Will Wiretapping hurt VOIP

VOIP, for whomever doesn't know, stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. This is the technology that allows us use the internet to make telephone calls. I believe that, eventually, all telephone calls will travel over the internet(or a sub-network of the internet). However, since I make my living servicing the good old PSTN(Public Switch Telephone Network), I'm not in a big hurry to see this technology blossom.

A possible stumbling block for the technology will be whether or not the government will interfere with it. Case in point here, the FBI wants to be able to wiretap internet telephone calls, but not all VOIP providers are set up to allow direct access to their networks.

Now, I'm conflicted over this. On the one hand I think that government regulation of the internet is bad. Much of the cost of the current telephony system is directly due to the regulators. On the other hand, how is my company supposed to compete(we just had to implement CALEA, which cost us several million dollars) when one form of communication is taxed out the ying-yang, but the other one isn't? I think a better solution is to remove the current levels of taxation and regulation from all forms of communication and let the chips fall where they may.

Of course, the Baby Bells would probably crush us then. Like I said, I'm conflicted. Mostly though, I just want to keep getting paid.

Another penguin related time waster


I don't like...

...Mike Kinsley much. I used to watch him on crossfire and think he was somewhat insect-like(though he was sitting across from Pat Buchanan, which should make anything look human). However, he has a pretty funny article today.

Notable Quotable
If political pragmatism is defined as thinking like a Republican, it's no surprise that Republicans do it better. Four years ago, in a roughly analogous situation, it was decided that the Republican candidate for president should be the less impressive of the two political sons of the man who had most recently lost them the White House. A far from obvious choice. Decided by whom? If you're going to be pragmatic, that's just the kind of question you don't ask. It was decided, OK? On the issues that divided their party, his views were hard to fathom and stayed that way. He was rich in valuable inexperience. And so, with one voice, millions of Republicans shouted a mighty, "Well, I'm glad that's settled."