May 12, 2006

I was up at 3:30 this morning working with clients in the United Kingdom. They are five hours ahead of us so it is mid-morning there. I had originally thought that I was going to work for maybe half an hour at most and then go back to sleep for two hours or so and then go in to work as usual. But instead I ended up supporting the call until 7:30 and then getting a short break before having to go to a second call at 8:00! Talk about a busy morning. Four hours of work by the time most people are just getting up. The really awesome thing is that because the call was so early I just worked from home and its Friday so I am likely to work from home all day, have no commute, be done around 1:30 and have a nice lead on the weekend. Unfortunately it is a weekend without Dominica at all 🙁 She isn’t coming down until Monday. But I will get, it looks like, two and a half very relaxing days all to myself. I could do with that level of relaxation.

I managed to get in some much needed purchasing work while I was stuck on the phone for so long. I can’t do technical work while I am listening to a conference call but i can do some simple paperwork. I managed to order Andy’s new workstation. His old one died on Sunday or Monday. That machine has been nothing but problems for him and it finally crapped out completely. So we just bit the bullet and got him an entirely new, 64-bit workstation. I think that he will be pretty impressed with the upgrade. It is a much faster unit than he is working with currently and it has three times the memory of his old unit. And instead of being a big, loud machine it is an almost silent small form factor desktop.

I ordered Dominica a USB headset for her laptop. That is the laptop that doesn’t have a working internal sound card. We figured out that the USB headsets have their own build in sound card so that they can work with machines that may not have a sound card of their own. What a neat feature. I got myself 2GB more memory for my desktop so it will be 3GB total when I am done. That puts me at three times the memory of anyone else that I know. I also got a memory upgrade for my new Windows desktop. It has only 512MB of single channel memory the way that Jeremy was running it. I am doubling the memory with a matching stick so that it will go to dual channel as well. That should speed it up a bit. I also got myself a new 250GB hard drive for my main desktop. I am going to be installing SUSE Linux on this machine very soon and I want a lot of storage capacity for running virtual machines. Hence all the memory as well. But I am excited about going to an all Linux, fully 64-bit screaming system. I have tried this in the past but ended up falling back to Windows. So we will see how it goes this time. I think that I will stick with it for my main machine.

The new insanely huge Seagate 750GB harddrives are available now. I saw one at Newegg this morning for just $499! That is an amazing price for that drive. That drive is the largest drive on the market and it is getting really good performance as well. I wish that I could get one but that will just have to wait. That means that the terabyte drives are right around the corner. I would guess in one to two months we should be seeing them. You know that everyone is pushing like mad to be the first to have one available on the market.

My morning project wrapped up around 8:15. What a long morning that made. I am feeling pretty good still. Hardly any sleep all week and practically none last night. I can’t believe that I am almost done with the work day! I need to find a Target or someplace that is selling the fourth season of That 70’s Show so that I will have stuff to watch. I have a few movies with me but not very many. I am forcing myself to go through all of the things that I haven’t seen yet by having nothing else in the apartment. It works out pretty well having the laptop just sitting beside me. I can easily have something on and just kind of pay attention to it.

I talked to my boss and he thought that I should wrap up the day working from home. Works for me. I don’t really enjoy commuting so I am more than happy to spend the day enjoying the comforts of my living room. It is a great weather day too. All of that rain all night was awesome. At 10:30 the sun came out and it was really nice and sunny. I opened up all of the windows and blinds to get some natural light in here.

I thought that today was going to be a light day at work. Boy was I ever wrong. I was swamped with work once the New York day began. I had been planning on going over to the Omega Diner for breakfast but that didn’t pan out. I never even came close to having a chance to do that. Noon rolled around and I had been going crazy all morning.

Things started to slow down a bit by 1:00 – probably because people were out at lunch. I ended up getting a pretty solid break in the afternoon from 1:30 until 5:00 when things started back up again. It has sure been a busy phone day for me. During my little afternoon break I took a short half hour nap which I desperately needed and I watch Pleasantville with Paul Walker, Reese Witherspoon, Tobey Maguire and William H. Macy which I have not seen since it was in theatres. That is a good movie. Very original and well done. They had some really good, creative ideas that they put in there.

I continued to work on my Grandsteam Budgetone 101 IP phone today that I have been having problems with. I figured out why it was failing. Well, I should say that I figured out what I can do to make it fail. If you set the QoS settings too high then DHCP stops working which is really quirky but at least I know what it is now. I managed to get it reset. I am pretty sure that I finally discovered the problem this evening. I will have to do further investigation. But it looks as if Netgear, from whom I buy all of my networking hardware, has a new IP telephony application gateway in their equipment – which is brand new and only The Surfing IT Wizard and I have brand new Netgear routers – and that is interfering with the VoIP. What a relief. I knew that it had to be related to the routers but I couldn’t figure out how.

I managed to finally wrap up working for the day at 6:30. A fifteen hour day. That’s a fifteen and a nineteen in the same week. I am worn out. I decided to take the evening to work on installing the newly released SUSE 10.1 which I spent the day downloading. It is a six compact disc download. But Novell has really figured out the mirror system this time and you were really able to get all of the discs quickly even on the first day of availability.

I watched Rock Hudson in Man’s Favorite Sport. Dominica didn’t like the movie very much but Rock Hudson is one of those actors that just managed to turn out tons of really “happy” movies. Not classics but movies that you enjoy just watching. This one was most definitely not one of his better films but it was okay. I can see why Dominica didn’t like the movie and it is surprising that I liked it. The female lead is a character that you really come to hate. That makes it tough to care about the romantic development of the film. But the storyline is mildly entertaining and the mood is light.

After the light interlude I watched How the West Was Won which I haven’t seen for many years. I last saw it squeezed onto a 4:3 television when I was a kid. Strangely enough, watching it now I can remember just about every moment of it. It is hard to remember it as a cohesive film because it is really sectioned off into several barely associated sections. The whole movie does focus on the adventures of a single family but it is focused on different family members over such a long period of time that your brain isn’t very likely to put it all together. And boy is it a long movie. There really isn’t very much action and there really isn’t very much drama. It really drags on. But it is an incredible selection of who’s who actors from the 1960’s. And not just real actors but John Wayne too. How the West Was Won stands as the most important CinemaScope movie ever made. The only truly famous triple projector movie. Unfortunately the system that made the movie famous is also the system that has made it not stand up well to time as even the DVD was unable to composite the three images together well. They do a good job with the DVD and at times you forget about the seems but at other times there are sharp angles in the scene caused by the cameras having pointed at different angles than the projectors do.

It was only midnight when I wrapped up How the West Was Won and somehow I wasn’t really all that tired yet. SUSE 10.1 wasn’t completely done installing the way that I wanted it yet so I stayed up and popped in Once Upon A Time in the West by Sergio Leone from 1969 which I have never seen. It is funny to see the transition between the two films. The really show the incredible degree of advancement that happened to the cinema during the mid-1960’s. How the West Was Won is from 1962 and the film quality and style is very reminicent of an earlier age while just seven year later the second film looks and feels like movies into the 1990’s.

I placed an Amazon order today. There doesn’t appear to be any good way to buy DVDs down here so we have turned to Amazon to get everything. It isn’t nearly as convenient but we have found ourselves getting better stuff instead of just getting whatever is available in the bargain bin. I got some good stuff like Red Dwarf seasons VII and VIII, the first season of The Piglet Files that I am hoping that Dominica will really like, Major League, The Thrill of It All, If A Man Answers and The Thing Called Love which just recently released onto DVD. It was one of my early great laserdisc finds long, long ago.

I managed to actually place the first call through the phone system over to John Stephens tonight. He was the one person that I haven’t been able to call. And this was our first chance to actually test it. So that was very exciting.

I went to bed just a little after 1:00. What a long day. I have to be up by 10:00 tomorrow morning because John is workingin Ithaca and I am doing the remote support.

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