April 21, 2006: TGiF

Many of you may have noticed that the site has been very slow over the past couple of days and that by today the site was only available sporadically throughout the day. We have a memory leak on one of the applications on the server and it caused it to quickly begin thrashing. So we were down or nearly down for almost the entire day. My apologies. Unfortunately I am unable to deal with blog issues during the day directly and even there I can only work on the server remotely. So if anything physically has to be done with the box I have to wait until Dominica gets home from work, which is late at night after I would normally go to bed, and have her be my remote hands and eyes.

Last night I decided that I needed it to be colder so that I could sleep better so I tried turning on the air conditioning. I figured that this would be a good idea anyway since we needed to know whether or not it actually worked. Fortunately it does work quite well although it is very noisy like all of the applicances in this apartment. The refridgerator is very loud and runs almost all of the time. The water heater makes a lot of noise as well. So there is always something making noise between those three things.

I was up at normal time this morning and managed to make it out the door early enough to avoid the bulk of the rush hour traffic. The drive isn’t too bad when there aren’t too many cars on the road. The trip is actually kind of scenic and only eighteen miles long. But it isn’t fast no matter what I do. I noticed this morning that my Jabra BlueTooth headset is making a weird sound. There is some piece that has broken loose inside of it and is rolling around when you move your head from side to side. It isn’t very irritating as long as the unit still works. I haven’t felt it vibrate in a while and I am wondering if its vibrate feature is now broken. That would be very sad.

I had the fish fry at work today. How cool is it that I can get a fish fry from the cafeteria at work? No one in my department is working very late tonight if they can help it because we are all in tomorrow. So around 5:00 the place started clearing out pretty quickly. There are a few people who have late night work but for the most part the place was a ghost town by 5:30. I appreciated the chance to head out a little early and to have a relaxing night before working the weekend.

I used the Internet phone system to call both dad and Dominica before going to bed. Boy is that ever handy. It works so much better than my cell phone. The cell has almost no reception in the complex where I am living. If I walk outside or stand in the very echoey living room right by the sliding glass doors I can generally stay on a call but if I am anywhere else in the house the calls won’t even hold for more than a minute or two and often the phone doesn’t even ring. So the timing has been perfect for getting the internal Internet based phone system working. It is extra nice because it doesn’t use batteries or wireless so it is pretty reliable. Nice to know that I can make high quality phone calls easily whenever I need to.

I actually made myself dinner in the apartment tonight. Okay, “made myself dinner” might be an overstatement. I heated up the leftover crab stuffed salmon from the Omega Grill from last week. It was the only real food in the apartment other than SlimFast drinks and mean bars. I wanted to get it eaten before Dominica came down to visit and tonight is my final meal in the apartment before that happens. But it is the closest thing to cooking that I have done yet.

I tried to sign up for a telephone account with VoicePulse tonight but their web application that does that stuff isn’t working and instead it feeds back ASP.NET errors about its database connections. I gave it several hours but got a different but related ASP.NET error. Maybe tomorrow it will be working. I am looking forward to the idea of being able to make regular, outgoing phone calls from the new phone system. That will be REALLY handy. People would actually be able to call me, from anywhere, anytime that they needed me. Nice.

I stayed up a little late tonight. I am pretty excited. Tonight is the very first evening that I have had in New Jersey when I haven’t had to get up early the next morning to go to work. Now, I do have to go to work tomorrow. But I don’t have to be there until 11:00 so it is almost like having a day off. At least to me. It is just about the most leaisurely day that I will have had in the past month and a half. This is the first Friday night that doesn’t include working a full ten hour day and then immediately driving five hours back to Geneseo. The first time that I just get to relax in the apartment. It is a nice change. I really needed a break, even if just a little one.

I tried out in2TV a little more tonight. I watched three more episodes of the 1986 premier season of Head of the Class. I can’t believe how long it has been. Twenty years! Twenty years ago I was ten years old and watching these very episodes new in my parents’ unfinished basement television/family room/den thing on a 19″ Sylvania colour tube television. Sylvania!! Remember when they actually made televisions? No, I didn’t think so. But they did. They were a part of the Philips, Magnavox (what a horrible name), Sylvaniz, Marantz family. Sylvania used to have a large tube factory in Batavia but that closed down many years ago and is mostly empty space these days.

Anyway, in2TV managed to work a little more than half of the time. It is very finicky and it is clear that AOL has not nailed down the technical aspects of the system yet but it is coming along. The compression and delivery mechanisms are excellent. I mean truly impressive. To be able to stream almost broadcast quality original television programming with an almost “instant on” startup time and smooth play for an entire half hour program is something to be proud of. Now I have not tried the system on anything less than Cablevision’s cable Internet service so maybe DSL and Road Runner customers aren’t getting the same quality that I am so I will look into that. But definitely for me it is a great service. I just wish that they would correct some of the issues that crop up between browsers and Windows security. The system really needs to be designed to be ablet o work easily and quickly for people who are not advanced users but who do not run their systems wide open as administrators all of the time. They still have a ways to go in that area.

The thing that in2TV is, at least at this early phase, is a sign of things to come. in2TV shows, beyond a shadow of doubt, that the current television paradigm cannot last against current network technology. AOL is delivering television shows, on demand, over the Internet for free. Now sure, currently those shows are only back catalogue items of lower than usual value (i.e. being considered for DVD but don’t quite make the cut.) But those items are the perfect place to start proving this delivery methodology. Once this system hits critical mass you will see television shows from farther up the stack starting to be released bringing more and more people to this system.

I tried watching the lower quality stream of Head of the Class while lying in bed (aka on the floor – I will try to get some pictures soon) and even in the lower quality version, in full screen mode, it really looks just like regular 1980’s television when you are that far away. Awesome. It is funny that I watch it on my 20.1″ LCD monitor which is roughly the same as a 22″ traditional television because that is only barely larger than I would have watched this show when it first aired twenty years ago. I am feeling very nostalgic.

When Dominica got home from work and from picking up Oreo she packed and restarted the SGL server. The site was back up just a little before midnight. Sorry for the disruption. I am running pmWiki and I am pretty sure that that is the application that was having a problem but it might have been the email server, Postfix. A number of people had registered so that they could leave comments (sorry guys) and the emails didn’t go through until after the server restarted. Some of them were in the queue for several days. Oops. I had no idea. I knew that the server had successfully restarted when I received all of the backed up notification email.

It was a little after midnight by the time that I got to bed and I fell right asleep. Right asleep, in fact, forgetting my CPAP. I woke up in the middle of the night with a terribly soar throat which is always what happens when I forget the CPAP so I put it right on and went back to sleep. So I didn’t sleep as well as I could have but I am fine.

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