March 3, 2004

Min is subbing today, teaching high school math at Keshequa. So I got up early this morning. I tried to catch Phil at work before he left but he was out the door a couple of minutes before I called. George who answered the phone couldn’t figure out who Phil was and ended up having me talk to the truck driver from another company who was there. I called Eric early enough to catch him before he left Livonia and he came over and we went to the Geneseo Family Restaurant for some breakfast. We drank coffee for a while and then we decided that he needed to help me find some hardcore casters for that baker’s rack that I got last night so we headed up to Henrietta to see what we could find.

Looking for casters turned into more of a chore than one would imagine. We tried everywhere. Lowes didn’t have crap and neither did Chase-Pitkins. We headed over to Home Depot and they didn’t have much either. This isn’t some rare rack that I have, it is pretty standard. So we decided that we needed some lunch before we looked for too long so we went to IHOP on Jefferson. Min and I have been going there a lot lately because we get addicted to their Swedish pancakes. Let’s face it, Lingonberries rock. Eric never wants to go there because everytime that he goes they end up taking for absolute ever to get him his food and they never do a very good job. Well, I got to share in the “Eric Curse” this time too. First off, our food took quite a while for a not busy lunch period. Not TOO long but long enough that we were wondering when we were going to get out food. Then I noticed that I could see my food sitting on the “to be delivered” counter under the heat lamps (I got cheese blintes and stuffed French toast, NOT things that can sit under a heat lamp.) Then I noticed lots of other orders come up and go out while I was looking at my food (doesn’t the kitchen realize that half of the restaurant can see them?) So we wait five or ten minutes while I am getting a little annoyed that my food is just sitting there and our waiter never comes over to talk to us. So the waiter starts taking orders from other tables next to us so Eric and I begin discussing quite loudly how our food has been sitting there for a very long time and that we wish someone would deliver it to us. Eventually, my food and Eric’s hamburder are brought out to the table. I mention that the food has been sitting there for a really long time and he gives me some excuse about how we had to wait for Eric’s hamburger – which only takes three minutes to cook so apparently they were busy spitting in it for the other twelve minutes after my food was done. Then Eric notices that his burger is overcooked (making it take longer) AND the cheese is all crusty like they forgot it somewhere. All of this, and they only brought Eric his burger, not his French fries because they COMPLETELY forgot to make those. So we finish our meals almost completely when his incredibly hot fries finally arrive (and tasted bad anyway.) By the time we were done eating, we didn’t see our waiter anywhere and gave up and just went up to the front to attempt to pay. The manager asked why we didn’t have a bill and we explained the story and how it didn’t seem prudent to sit around in the hopes of getting one and he was very nice and paid for our meals (which is good because crepes and French toast are nasty after they have been under heat lamps for fifteen minutes!) So at least lunch was free even if it wasn’t tasty. It is hard enough justifying going there because Eric and Amanda hate it there and they really make it very difficult for vegetarians to eat there because they add meat to almost every entree and then have a policy against substituting for meat products. They actually go way out of their way to make sure it is hard for vegetarians. They won’t let you substitute toast for sausage! Think of all the money they are losing on that one.

After lunch, Eric and I went to Graingers. It took 45 minutes but we did track down some nice casters that should do the job. And I set up an account and got a catalogue while we were there. The casters were $50 but they should at least hold up. We headed out to Pittsford to talk to Soundworks quickly before heading back down to the house. Jim Richardson, my audio consultant, was in and I got a chance to talk to him. He gave me some pointers and ideas for the theatre room. He is attempting to track down a rare cable that I need so that we can have Dolby Digital AC3, DTS and SACD Multichannel playback all in place as soon as the room is completed. Probably just a couple more weeks before the theatre is really coming along.

We got back to the house and began putting the rack the rest of the way together, added the casters and then began wiring the basement because we need to get the house Ethernet network to stretch over to the far corner over there. Luckily, I have a couple of spools of CAT5e to run around the house. That makes like a lot easier. It took a while to get everything set up and most of the wires ran and tested. Around 5:30, Amanda called and then came over and we all went out to dinner at the Omega Grill. We are starting to be like family there. Everyone knows us and says hello when we come in. We hung out for a while at dinner before going back to the house. Eric wrapped up the last but of wire to run while I shut down the two non-critical machines to get them moved right away. Eric helped me carry the monster machine over (the Proliant 6500 that has been floating around one place or another for years – Josh stored it for a while, Nate had it for a while, it was in the condo in Annapolis for a while, etc.) Then he and Amanda took off and I went up to spend a little bit of time with Min before she had to go off to the hotel to work (Wednesdays are SO busy for her.) We watched the last episode of Monarch of the Glen, which remains one of the most watched DVDs in the collection. We are very excited that Monarch of the Glen, Series 2 is set to release this coming May 4th. We have been waiting for that one for a while and I know a number of people who are pretty excited about that.

Min headed off to work around 10:45 and I headed down to the basement for a long night’s work. First I had to shut down everything that was running which was nice because the peace and quiet was quite different for a change. Then I had to break everything down. There was a bit of wiring going on there behind my desk. It took a while to get that all apart and then I talked to Phil on the phone for a little while. This is one of his first regulary scheduled overnights like he will be working for the next three months or so. So he is easy to find at night. And luckily his Friday nights are free and so are his Saturday days so the game can still go on! I moved, altogether, twenty computers over onto that rack plus two uniterrupted power supplies, one KVM switch, one Ethernet switch, one Ethernet hub and one seven drive hard drive array! That is so much stuff for one little rack. As I was moving everything, I took each of the servers upstairs and out onto the front porch were I had some canned air and I blew the dust out of them. Boy were they all a total mess. Good thing that I cleaned them, they really needed it badly. It took hours just to get all of the wiring into place. Each machine has to be wired to the Ethernet switch AND to the KVM switch. I am short one set of KVM cables so there is a spare keyboard sitting over there right now just until I get another set of KVM cables. I also need to come up with some sort of desk or something to put over there so that I can have a place to sit at which I have to work over there. I was hoping that there portable hospital monitor stands would do the trick but they need some kind of adapter or something – they aren’t able to grip any monitor that I have. So I am out of luck there. The office is looking nice now, though, just my computer at my desk and the PIII 1GHz Compaq Deskpro sitting at the other desk. No more stacks of servers at every desk competing for space.

After I got everything wired up, I ran into a couple of issues that I had a really hard time dealing with because I was so tired. I finally got everything working (or at least, everything started working one way or another) and I headed upstairs to call it a night.

I really wanted to head off to bed after getting everything wrapped up but I hadn’t taken care of Mr. Humphreys for the day yet and he had been neglected all night so I took some time to play with him and then get him out in his ball and let him run around a little bit. He played for about twenty minutes or so. While he was running around the house like a freak show, I took the time to clean up Min’s desk some and remove her messed up headphones and install satellite speakers and subwoofer combo. We have both been wanting that to be done for a while since I have no moved over 2,000 songs from CD onto Ogg Vorbis files so I can listen to them easily now. And now I can put all of those CDs into storage so that they aren’t in the way. That will be so nice. The speakers aren’t bad, they are just computer multimedia deals but the are Cambridge/Sound Blaster and they sound pretty nice. I put the hamster back into his cage and my music player (I use Zinf, which used to be called FreeAMP, because it totally rocks and is much easier to use than Windows Media Player plus it doesn’t send personal information to anyone and it does a great job pumping out the Vorbis files. I set Zinf up to generate an automatic playlist of all of the songs and then to randomize them and just play them. It is just like having a radio station that only plays music that I like. I love it. If any of you are interested in doing some Ogg Vorbis CD conversions at home, everything you need is free. Go download Zinf and then go get a neat CD to Ogg Vorbis ripping program called CDex. Set CDex to automatically put your files into a handy directory, set it to Ogg Vorbis instead of MP3 (OV gives you better sound quality from smaller files!!) and set you quality to somewhere around 5 (I use 6 myself but 4 is good for most people – lower number means less disk spaces used to store the music) and go to town. You will love how easily it is to transfer your CDs then how easy it is to make a playlist and just jam. I have about 1,000 CDs and I am about halfway through them and already I have weeks worth of continuous “Radio Scott” to listen to!

I finally hit the hay around 6:30 or so to get some sleep. Boy am I tired!

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