March 29, 2005

I got much better sleep last night. I need to get caught up so that I am ready to do the overnight again tomorrow. I can’t believe that a week has gone by already. That was quick. I had a note waiting for me this morning saying that Wegmans might actually move forward on the project. I find that hard to believe. We will wait and see. I am skeptical to say the least.

I am having a “can’t stand looking at a computer screen” day and am probably going to take the afternoon off and go up to the city and read over some coffee. Somedays my eyes just can’t take looking at a computer screen. I guess I really am getting quite old when that starts to become a problem. So I decided to go up to the city this afternoon and get some coffee with Eric. I only had a slim fast optima for breakfast so a little lunch would be good too.

Jeremy thinks that he is going to be taking the CompTIA A+ exam on Thursday. So the plan is that I will be taking him up to the city. The test is a whole day deal because there are two parts. You can take them at separate time but that is dangerous since they have a certain number of days that you can go in between. And if you miss the windows, you have to take both of them again.

I read today that the popular VCR replacement device TiVo has started forcing advertising onto a test group of people’s TiVo devices. So much for fast forwarding through the commercials. Apparently the advertising comes up during regular programming as well. Just goes to show that you shouldn’t all buy hard disk recording devices from a single company. If there was decent competition in the marketplace, no one would ever consider such a horrible scheme. Imagine a device that you purchase that has advertising streamed to it! What if you had to watch fifteen seconds of ads before you were allowed to drive you car in the morning? What if you had your radio broadcast interrupted by ads while listening to music (oh wait, someone of you still have that problem, don’t you – mu ha ha.) There is a reason why recorded media is catching on and replacing streaming media so rapidly – we would rather pay a nominal amount for content that we actually want than to watch one minute of advertising for every one minute of content that we might not even want to see in the first place. I buy DVDs of television shows over watching them on television because: it is higher quality, I can watch them whenever I want and because there is no advertising or other unrelated break from the show. I hate watching good shows that have an ad floating in the corner or that have scrolling information coming across the bottom of the screen even if the snow IS really bad. Since I already knew the snow was so bad is probably why I was watching television in the first place. Gosh! What do you think!

For those of you who loved the Napolean Dynamite Soundboard, here is the Pedro Sanchez Soundboard also from ABS.

I headed up to the city around 1:15 to meet up with Eric. Amanda will call and Eric will have to explain that we are having coffee. She always manages to call when we are getting coffee. It is pretty funny. I think she is convinced that his job is to test coffee or something like that. Or something related. Like testing bagels and we just really like coffee.

We had coffee until 4:00 and then I ran over to Borders (yes, again) and picked up the Exam Cram A+ Practice Questions book since Jeremy is working on his A+ for the day after tomorrow. This is his first real industry exam and will be quite an awakening, I am sure. I took the A+ in 1998, I think, so I only have to much insight into the test as it has gone through many iterations and changes since I first took the exam. When I took the exam, it primarily covered DOS and Windows 3.11 for Workgroups and didn’t even mention Windows 95 or the NT series. Talk about a useless, outdated, irrelevant exam. But it was still the entry exam into the industry so I doled out my $250 and took the tests. They weren’t that bad but the knowledge has helped me very little over the years. I am glad to see that the current test is a lot more relevant than the old one was. At least they go up to Windows 2000 now which is ONLY five years behind (three if you base it off of when the replacement technology came out.)

I got back home around a quarter to five and Min was already in the shower. I called dad to see if he wanted to do dinner. (If you REALLY need to know what I ate there, you can check the food site.) He came over and picked us up around 5:30 and we went over to the Omega Grill. If we don’t eat there every few days, I am pretty sure that they will send out a search party looking for us.

Jeremy and Sara came over a little after we got back from dinner. Sara and a friend came over to picked out some movies to watch. They ended up borrowing the first season of Father Ted which, I am guessing, that Sara will find to be hilarious. They dropped Jeremy off and he is going to spend the night. He is frantically studying for his test on Thursday and needs to do some work over here before he will be ready for it. He has finished reading the really big Exam Cram 2 A+ book and has been working through the practice tests from there. I found some of Min’s flashcards for him to study from and another of Min’s huge A+ books. I also had that book of practice questions for him to work on. The big thing this evening is making him work on taking a Brainbench certification as a practice for the CompTIA exam. The BrainBench is actually harder – at least the last time that I took it. But it is easier and quicker to get feedback from and it gives you detailed information about subject areas that you need to work on. Plus it helps prepare you for the panic of the real deal. I think that BrainBench is an awesome resource and I use it for all kinds of stuff. Anyone working in IT should have a subscription to them and use them frequently.

While Jeremy was doing some studying, Min and I watched Apt Pupil with Ian McKlellan and Brad Renfro – a lot of you might recognize Brad from the mediocre Disney film Tom and Huck which you can find in the Scott Alan Miller “LaserDisc not going to be converted to DVD” Collection. Min hadn’t seen Apt Pupil yet and I hadn’t seen it in a long time. I last saw it when it was in the theatre in 1998. It isn’t too bad. Different than your run of the mill Hollywood fare. We got it for $6. Probably a pretty decent buy at that price.

Jeremy finished up his Brainbench certification test around 1:30 am. He scored a 2.17 which fell a little below the 2.75 for passing mark but was still pretty impressive. After finishing up the test, Jeremy decided to fool around and try his hand at the Java 2 certification. He wasn’t planning on passing this one. I wouldn’t plan on passing it either. I wrote a good article over at My Tech Blog about why I feel that the Brainbench is a really awesome certification authority. Jeremy got a 1.34 on the Java 2 test which is pretty impressive since he hasn’t covered really any of that material yet.

I decided to try my hand at a programming certification since I have never tried one. I went for something easy, the Java 2 Fundamentals certification. I wrapped up around 3:10am with a 3.33, a very decent score if I don’t say so myself. Pretty good for a non-programmer like me. Number 24 in New York. Whoo-hoo. I love being ranked. I am sure that the Fundamentals exam is not as popular as the more difficult core Java 2 exam but it makes me happy, darn it.

I am up so late tonight because tomorrow is my second pilot for Wegmans. We are going to be out at the Pittsford location (the super massive Wegmans, the biggest that there is.) I will be doing the overnight again so I want to sleep in late and be ready for a long, long night of server installation fun. Unfortunately, I managed to get a noon meeting scheduled tomorrow that I have to deal with. I also have to get up and deal with getting Jeremy up because he has a doctor’s appointment in the morning. I never manage to sleep when I really need to. At least I got a new certification tonight. I am bummed, though, because it was three years ago that I did the bulk of my certs and a ton of them have dropped off of my resume in the last two months meaning I have to go through an extremely lengthy and difficult recertification process in addition to getting anything new. I hate doing a lot of work just to maintain old certifications that I already earned once.

I was about to go to bed but wasn’t feeling tired enough so I decided to press on and attempt another exam. Normally I would be dog tired by this point of the night / morning. But taking difficult exams invigorates me and I am feeling quite good right now. I ended up finishing the Java 2 exam with only a score of 3.0 however this was a much harder exam and I scored higher comparative to other test takers in general than I had with the Fundamentals test. So that is pretty positive, I guess. Considering I am not a programmer, that rocks. I didn’t get any cool ranking this time, probably because tons more people have taken this particular test. But hey, I did my best and did decent. I am happy.

Now it is 4:17am and I am getting quite tired. I am going to go call my wife to say goodnight and then I am turning in. Please remember not to call me in the morning. I will be sleeping until 11:00!!

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