Public Service Announcement
Posted in Advice
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:20 am)

Don't drive if this is your view of the road!

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Pulling Cable
Posted in Advice
Afternoon watch, 1 bell (12:53 pm)

For the first time in over three years, I had to run new network cable today. It had to run through the dropped ceiling of the mechanical room of our building, which is about 12 feet off the ground. Many of the ceiling tiles are so old they've been caulked in place because they're falling apart. There were tons of pipes and stuff running through, and access to the ceiling area via ladder was extremely difficult. I came up with the idea of throwing a pull-string through first, with a chemical glowstick tied to it so it would be easy to find.

It was a brilliant idea, and saved us a bunch of trouble. We pulled two cables through. We are now ready for our 10mb fiber.

So if you ever need to run cable through a difficult area, get some glowsticks and string, it worked great for me!

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Router vs. Layer 3 Switch
Posted in Advice, Tech
First dog watch, 3 bells (5:34 pm)

My office is getting a new 10Mb fiberoptic Internet connection soon. Everybody's thrilled about that. My telco reps (XO) are great to work with, but sometimes you still have to dig for information. Today I saved a crapload of money by digging up the fact that I don't need a $15,000 Cisco router to handle the traffic, and a $1500 Layer 3 switch will do in my case.

Make sure you know what you need, though—you may have other needs that will require a router, but if you're like me you may save a crapload of cash.

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Partition Cheat Sheet
Posted in Advice
Last dog watch, 3 bells (7:43 pm)

Just a word of advice to any UN*X/Linux people out there. I have done this for a while now, but forgot about it until today (when I needed it), when it saved my bacony pirate pigu:

Take the important contents of your /etc/fstab file and write it on a sticky note. Stick that to your hard drive in the computer. Two years down the road when you don't remember what your partitioning table looks like and you have a crash like I did today, it will save you tons of trouble. Here's what mine looks like:

/dev/sda1 /boot  ext2
/dev/sda2 swap
/dev/sda3 /  XFS
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Documenting Code
Posted in Advice, Code
First watch, 6 bells (11:05 pm)

I've been writing documentation for my code project, MUD3. In case you didn't know, I call it MUD3 because it's my third complete rewrite of a MUD engine. This one is the best so far, because it works. I've been on a kick lately and gotten a lot of code written. I have to cram as much as I can in until I lose interest and shelve it again…

Anyway, I'd be dead if it wasn't for Doxygen, it's a life saver! The HTML output is quite good, and it's an easy command (uh, make pdf) to also create a PDF manual.

When I finish my documentation later this weekend, perhaps I'll make the documentation public.

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Best Onion Rings on the Planet
Posted in Advice
Forenoon watch, 5 bells (10:54 am)

As loyal readers know, I just returned from a road trip to Portland OR to visit some family. Every time we drive through Hood River (where I grew up), I always seem to mention how I can't remember ever going to the Charburger restaurant off exit 62 on I84, right next to the Columbia Gorge Hotel. I thought it was odd to live in a small town for 10 years (1979 to 1989) and never visit such a restaurant. After talking to my mom, she says we have been there, I just don't remember. Seeing as how I was 6 years old in 1979, I suppose if we went early enough, I wouldn't remember, but I'm pretty sure we didn't go there any of my later years.

Anyway, the point is I have to make a recommendation—go there and get a basket of onion rings, even if you don't like onion rings, they are that good. I also had a great barbecue hamburger, the fries were nothing to write home about, but the onion rings were, hands down the best onion rings I've ever eaten in my life.

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One Spam in Four Weeks
Posted in Advice
Morning watch, 8 bells (8:14 am)

I got my first spam comment in a month today. Thank you, David for WebHashcash, it's the spam bomb. If you have a blog, you really should look at implementing it.

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IE Fix Busted?
Posted in Advice
Forenoon watch, 8 bells (12:28 pm)

The IE problem rendering my stylesheet fix that I put in a while back seems to not work anymore. I don't know why, but I'll get on fixing it ASAP.

Update: Nevermind. It's not worth it. The problem is with IE 6 and how it renders stylesheets. Their support of CSS has always been ban pigu anyway. If you upgrade to IE 7 or just use Firefox you'll be fine.

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Writing Bug-Free Code
Posted in Advice, Code
First dog watch, 2 bells (5:08 pm)

I had a cow-orker explain this to me, and I never thought it would actually be this simple:

Writing bug-free code is simply a matter of getting all the letters in the right order.

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Going Up Against the Baochuan
Posted in Advice, Pirates
Afternoon watch, 3 bells (1:42 pm)

I mentioned the chance I had to go up against the Baochuan in Seattle recently. Here's my strategy that almost worked to get me a win against overwhelming odds:

First of all, if your opponent knows this, it won't help you.

My strategy is to get a ship to an island as fast as possible, have an explorer on it. Get several gold on it, then sail your fleet against the Baochuan—yes, against the Baochuan. Fire as many cannon as you can. Make them sink your ships. If all your ships are sunk and your opponent hasn't returned any gold to his home island, you will win. This happens because if your opponent sinks one of your ships with treasure, the treasure is split, half goes to the ship that sunk you, and the other half goes directly to your home island.

If your opponent is a smart player (like mine was), you probably won't get away with this. They'll leave you derelict or something while they stomp on you. But it can work under the right circumstances.

SakuraCon 2006
Posted in Advice, Anime, Reviews
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:14 am)

As promised in my Spot the Nerd post, here's my review of our trip to SakuraCon 2006. Overall I'd have to say it wasn't that great. The organization was atrocious—if they've improved a lot from previous years then they really sucked before. They were moving classes around with absolutely NO notification! For example, Sunday afternoon there was a class we wanted to go to, but it got moved to Friday evening. There were no announcements in the opening ceremonies or anywhere else, unless you went to the room and looked at its posted schedule—that was the only place you could see a schedule change, on a room-by-room basis.

They ran out of lanyards for convention badges even before all the early-registration people got to register on Thursday evening.

The Anime theaters (there were four) that played shows 24 hours per day kept rearranging the schedule, so if there was a show you wanted to see, chances were you already missed it, or they put something else on instead. The printed schedule wasn't very useful. And they never did have an online schedule for you to actually decide what to do before you got there.

They also scheduled the Charity Auction at the same time as the Closing Ceremonies (a very bad deal for the Make-a-Wish foundation).

The vendors were there in force, but there weren't any great deals to be had.

All in all, it was an interesting weekend, but I don't think any of us will be going to another one of these without some serious proof that it's going to be way better.

I could only recommend this if you are a very hardcore Anime fan. Most of the people there were juvenile, with a very juvenile sense of humor. The entire staff was made up of everyday fans, so there wasn't much organization to speak of.

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Bulletin Boards
First dog watch, 4 bells (6:07 pm)

Administrating an online bulletin board is like babysitting a horde of destructive children. It never ceases to amaze me how much people will complain about the silliest things: my smily icons don't work (eg you see the text representation and not the nice replacement image). So-and-so gets a custom title and I don't, that's not fair, etc etc ad nauseum. I'd delete all the titles, but then those that had titles will start complaining... It never ends. Don't run a bulletin board if you don't have to.

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Hour on the Phone
Posted in Advice, Tech
Afternoon watch, 3 bells (1:40 pm)

Today I spent an hour on the phone with Dell Technical Support trying to identify a problem in the brand new PowerEdge 850 server I got two days ago. There was a constant beeping coming from the system. Turns out one of the hard drives was making the noise—and it doesn't even have a speaker! It's a Maxtor, though, so I expect nothing more than garbage from them anyway.

My advice to anyone buying a new hard drive: don't buy Maxtor: they're cheap because they suck. This is at least the fourth Maxtor drive I've had the didn't survive past one week from the installation time. This one even had the manufacturing date of Jan 16, 2006, barely two weeks ago!

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Bad TV Movie Review
Posted in Advice
Forenoon watch, 4 bells (10:27 am)

Last night Lorien and I watched If Only, a movie she wanted to see, so we had TiVo pick it up. Well, it sucked. The story, basically, goes as follows:

Girl + Guy in relationship, guy doesn't put much into it. Guy has bad day, girl dies in car accident. Guy wakes up next morning and gets to relive the day. Guy realizes everything from the "day before" is still happening, just a little differently. He makes it up to her, and does everything right. Guy gets into car and dies instead of the girl. Girl goes on to be a famous singer. The end.

Now what kind of tripe is that?? Our first speculation as to the writers was that the chumps from either Cowboy Bebop or Wolf's Rain collaborated (see my earlier review of Wolf's Rain for details). But then again, everybody didn't die, so we figured it was someone else. Anyway, it totally sucked, so don't waste your time watching it. And Jeniffer Love Hewitt's face is so angular and doofy-looking you could use her chin as a wedge to split wood.

If Only they could have found better writers, it would have been a movie worth watching.

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New Microsoftware
Posted in Advice, Tech
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:07 am)

I'm heading to Spokane on November 15th for the SQL Server 2005 launch, as well as the VS .NET 2005 launch. Should be an interesting day, not to mention free attendance = free software. In my experience, never say no to free Microsoft software.

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