Saturday, November 6, 2010

Creepy Gingers

"Dexter" does nothing to dispell the whole "creepy gingers" thing. Seriously.

Then again, it seems that few gingers do.


Today, while having after-work pizza and beers, my coworkers noted that I don't smile much. I noted, "I smile when I'm happy." I figure they're capable of "doing the math" on that one.

Terms Seldom Heard

I haven't heard the term "penny-dreadful" in years, but woke up with the term stuck in my head for the past 3 days running. Worse, I keep running into the term in my Stumbles and other random places. Weird.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Work Complaints

In general, when it comes to being asked to do things at work, I keep my complaining (to the requestors) to a minimum. However, when I've previously done something and fully and completely executed that task, I do get vocally cranky when asked to REDO those efforts. This is especially so if there's no reasonable justification for the redo-request.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Such a Quandary

Today, I came home from work to find that "Sex in the City 2" was playing on my A/V system. Now, I knew that Donna had planned to watch this cinematic atrocity, as she'd IM'ed me, at work, to ask if she could get it via OnDemand. I'd agreed under the assumption that she could get the watching of it out of her system and that I'd not be exposed to it.

What I didn't know is that, not only is "Sex in the City 2" the story of over-the-hill New York whores, it's also of epic duration. I'm not sure, but I think that Lord of the Rings had a shorter running time.

As A result of this, I came home to find Sex in the City 2 playing on my TV. Ultimately, I couldn't decide which was worse: coming home to find Sex in the City 2 on my TV or what father time had done to those shrews (painfully rendered in HD). Granted, Sarah Jessica Parker was never easy on the eyes, but, combine that horse-face with the ill-effects of the passage of time and rendering in HD... It was not a pretty picture that I found waiting for me on my TV.


At the end of the day it's easier to write patch for /etc/init.d/winbind than to debug requisite SELinux policies.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Commuting Disaster

Today was, apparently, infrastructure Armageddon day. Within a couple miles of my house, there were two water main breaks (one in my neighborhood), a utility pole down and miscellaneous construction projects. In the end, it took me 47 minutes to go just two miles of the 19 miles I have to cover to get to work.

The traffic snarls also very clearly illustrated just how many assholes like to use my neighborhood as a cut-through to get from Telegraph road to Kings Highway (or the reverse). It also illustrated how many people use both my neighborhood and the next subdivision over to get from US-1 to Telegraph Road.

Ugh. What a nightmare.

All the obvious cut-throughs make me wish the entrance roads to our neighborhood(s) were like some of the streets I saw in Amsterdaam (you have to have a card-key or get authorized by one of the neighborhood residents in order for electronic roadblocks to be cleared for you).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Carriage Crunch

Maryland: Please fix River Road at the intersection with Kenilworth Ave. My car shouldn't bottom out because the tire ruts are so deep.

Good In Theory; Practice, Not So Much

First, let me start by saying, I don't have a problem with the underlying concept of equal pay for equal work. It's truly a noble concept. However, it's also very simplistic. It ignores a number of realities so that it can foster the idea of victimhood.

For starters, how does one define "equal"? I mean, outside of assembly-line-style work, how does one objectively define and measure equal work. Most jobs I'm familiar with are inherently subjective in their value.

It's really not a question of gender, race or whatever criteria you want to use. It's a question of how do you determine your basis for equality.

Even if you can, somehow, determine that two workers are producing equal work and have equal qualifications, other factors complicate it. Say that I, as an employer, have two positions that I absolutely have to fill. Say that I find two objectively equal candidates two fill those two positions. Say I offer a $60,000/yr pay rate for the position. Now, let's say that job-candidate "A" thinks, "well, $60,000 is more than fine for my needs: I'll take it!". Now, let's say that job-candidate "B" thinks, "I ain't doing that job for anything less than $70,000/year." As established before, I, as employer, absolutely have to fill both positions. So, if I want candidate "B", I have to offer him $70,000/year. Candidate "A" has already accepted $60,000/year. Am I now obligated to offer candidate "A" a $10,000/year bump to match the offer I've made to candidate "B"? Personally, I don't think an employer should be required to make such an offer (and it has nothing to do with the gender, race, religion, sexual-orientation, etc. of candidate "A").

But, whatever. I'm not some talking-head on TV. I'm not some politician trying to score points/votes with certain sectors of the population. I'm just some guy who's trying to ensure that I am always able to demand a given compensation rate without having to worry that a potential employer will need to say "no" because making a given offer-size to me would require them to extend the same offer to others who'd previously not required or requested it.

At the end of the day, I tend to think that, chances are, if you're crying about equal pay for equal work, you're the one who's unwilling to assert your value. Your unwillingness to demand your worth shouldn't impact on my ability to get what I think my worth is.

Configurational Oops

So, at work, they're setting up a database that needs to be replicated from one part of the country to another. No big deal, there's dozens of methods for doing so.

Unfortunately, it's so infrequent that one sets up such configurations, that, some small things aren't at the top of your head when you do. In this case, the flag that says to the software "both sites are already identical, just declare them synced and only sync what changes at the source site from this point forward."

In and of itself, forgetting this flag isn't inherently horrible. Instead of being instantaneously synced, you have to wait for the devices to do a zero sync. Where it becomes problematic is if you have a LOT of zeros and NOT a lot of bandwidth to ship them.

An initial replication sync of 17TB takes a LOOOONG time if you've got a 5MB/s session limit on the WAN. Specifically, at the rates we were seeing, it was going to take 45.862 days to do that initial sync. The WAN bandwidth was several Gigabits, but, those session limits were a motherfucker.

Oh well. Nothing to be lost by burning-down and redoing. Certainly, it would take sufficiently less time than to do that zero-sync that it's worth re-doing.


Resisting Temptation

Its hard not to scream "IM THE JUGGERNAUT, BITCH" when hammering away on Juggernaut in Halo's rumblepit mode.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Alternate Pet Uses

Grumbles isn't so much a cat as a really good fart-muffler. He insists on sitting as close to me as possible. Frequently, this means that he situates himself such that he's right at my ass.

Stupid cat.

I Don't Need Another Wii

Look, I already have a Wii (I didn't want it, but the wife insisted that she'd use it for exercise stuff rather than the dust collector it's become). I don't particularly care for it. The user interface is cloyingly awful. I don't want or need cutesy avatars. I don't want or need saccharine sound effects for everything that happens on screen. Least of all, I don't need what was previously a serviceable interface modified to be a less-well-executed version of an interface I already hate. Whut. The. Fuck.

Poorly Executed Code Push

So, today, Microsoft released the new XBox update. Unlike prior updates, they provided no update grace period. If you didn't install the update, you couldn't use any of your Live services.

Now, back when Live was pretty much exclusively about playing multiplayer games online, this kind of thing would be merely annoying, but otherwise not too much of a problem. Nowadays, where services like Zune music and video, Last.FM, NetFlix Streaming, Twitter, FaceBook, etc. all rely on being able to log into XBox live, you're kinda SOL if the service is unavailable to you.

There's also a LOT more people using the services in late 2010 than there were several years ago. So, if you're going to demand people upgrade, you need to ensure that they can upgrade in an easy, timely manner.

Microsoft utterly failed to do this. From the time I got home from work until I was able to get a successful download, it took me over 90 minutes. Now, this was 90 minutes of attempting to connect and download. Unfortunately, the XBox update method doesn't allow you to simply queue-up an update request, walk away, and let things happen unattended. No. You have to make the request, wait for the request to succeed or fail, then acknowledge the next action.

Because of the way they pushed the code, they had MILLIONS of people all trying to upgrade at once. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't use anything like BitTorrent to distribute updates, nor do they seem to use their "cloud" services to spin-up additional update servers to meet the sudden demand-spike (or, if they do, their "cloud" services are utterly sucktackular - even if they don't, you assume that they do, and it makes their "cloud" services offering look horrible, one way or the other). That means that, each time you request the update, it's a crapshoot on whether it will succeed. So, if you lose that crap-shoot, you can either immediately try again or come back sometime later and make another attempt.

Back when XBox live was just a gaming service, coming back later was the normal choice. Now that it's a control-center type of service, coming back later means that a lot of things you might want to use are not available. So, you have to try again ...and again, and again and again... All because their update utility wasn't designed with queuing features.

Seriously, Microsoft, this whole thing was a debacle. It makes you look like amateurs - both in your gaming service and in other things you do. You might want to rethink how you do future code-rolls.

I'm An Information Pack-Rat

Some people hoard things, I hoard data. At least data doesn't take up much in the way of physical space.

To give you an indication of how much I hoard data, I have emails and Usenet posting from the mid-90s. I'd still have my college email from the late 80s if I hadn't lost it in a filesystem failure a number of years ago.

Still, being a data hoarder can be useful. I've got a project at work that may benefit from some documentation I wrote in 2005 and some scripts I wrote in 2006. Addiction justified!

Of course, hoarding anything isn't terribly helpful if you don't know how to find the stuff you've kept. Fortunately, for now, I have a memory that's far above average. So, in that mass of data, I usually know how or what it was stored under so I can set up an appropriate search.

I Like Outlook, But...

Ok, yeah, I said it: "I like Outlook". Me. A UNIX-guy and very much a non-fan of Microsoft. But, still, gotta appreciate when a tool's got useful features. OutLook's always had a fairly decent advanced search utility.

What gets me, though, is, as good as the functionality is, it almost seems like Microsoft doesn't want you to use it. While they continue to keep it in Outlook, it seems like with each succeeding release, Microsoft tries to make using the advanced search tool more and more difficult (to find). Each time I upgrade to a new version of Outlook, I have to play "find the find tool". And, each time, it feels like there's more and more hoops to jump through to get to it and to use it. Ugh.

Halloween Good (!) Cheer

I guess a Halloween isn't complete with a good, stupid-inducing drunkening. Nothing like hearing people stumble their way into the house because they're stumbling-drunk. Well, I guess being woken in the middle of the night by their drunken stumbling to the bathroom's pretty high up on that same, "shit that really fucking annoys the hell out of me" list.

Nothing I love more than waking up as furious as I went to bed. Others' chronic drunkenness is rage-inducing. Having to witness it just before bed tends to leave me in a bad mood. Not terribly conduscive to sleeping. Even less conduscive is being woken by drunken stumblings. All in all, it results in waking up in a rather foul mood (and that's on top of the "oh, fuck: it's Monday" mood).

Thanks. Love starting my day just as pissed as I ended the previous one.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mixed Blessings at Halloween

Ok, so, I live in a decent-sized neighborhood. Certainly, this neighborhood is rather much larger than the one I grew up in. There's also a fair number of families with children in this neighborhood. Yet, each year at Halloween, the number of trick-or-treaters that show up are rather low. Each year, there's more leftover candy than there is candy given out (we like to provide a variety, so we get a bunch of different candies). Invariably, you have a predictable progression: young/new parents with very young children for the first hour. Older (pre-teens) for the next hour. Teens, invariably not in costume, to close out the evening. Throughout, you also have the "drop-off" kids.

The "drop offs" are invariably kids from PG county. You can tell that they're from PG county by the license plates of the vehicles. I can only guess that they don't recognize/have Halloween in Maryland, as all of the drop-off vehicles seem to be MD-plated. Generally, you'll see them get dropped off at some corner, and then the driver of the vehicle speeds away at a speed WELL above what's prudent for the occasion or even just the speed limit. I guess it's ok to drop your kids off in the neighborhoods with the good candy and risk mowing down the kids that are already out.

Overall, Halloween is such a non-occasion. It seems that the only people that really go out for Halloween are the adults with the various Friday and Saturday night drunken-slutfests ("ho ho ho" isn't so much what Santa says at Christmas but what you can point and say as you watch the parade of "I only feel like I can get away with dressing this way one time of year" tartlets.

Now, as a man, I certainly appreciate the eye candy. So, I'm not using "ho" or "slut" in a pejorative sense. It's more an expression of frustration at the whole state of affairs where Halloween is way more for adults than it is for kids. It's just "lame" (to borrow a term from when Halloween still seemed to be popular with the pre-adult set).


What's up with the duplicate player names on multi-player matchmaking in Halo: Reach online?? Something about it that just doesn't "smell right". It may be nothing, but something makes me assume that people are cheating. It's always a tad disheartening when you notice that, of the 16 people on a game roster, there's only three "real" gamer tags (your own, plus two and all their clones). WTF.

Oh well: I always go in and submit an "avoid" review when I see them. Even if they aren't, strictly, cheating, I don't like playing games with people like that.

Xbox Live/Halo: Reach Bafflement

Why is "good connection" even a search criteria on Xbox Live? Shouldn't that just be a given? Sure: put me on the shitty server, instead.

Woke Up With a Hankering...

This morning (sorta: it was still about three minutes to noon), I woke up with a taste for yesterday's leftovers. Donna had made a pasta dish of our last, big tomatoes from the garden, wheel-pasta, salami and some other assorted stuff. Was damned tastey and was looking forward to it.

I came down to look for it in the fridge and didn't find it there. Instead, I eventually found it on the kitchen island where it had been sitting since yesterday afternoon. Granted, it was covered, but I was still a little shakey on eating it.

So, I had my morning pills and grumbled my way back out to the living room to sit down and stew in my no-breakfast-having hunger.

Donna came down and said, "no, I left it out intentionally. There's nothing in it that would spoil and refrigerating would have screwed up the tomatoes." So, we both had a bowl of it. I'm not dead yet and feeling no noticeable ill-effects. So, maybe it will be ok.