December 15, 2006: Merry Elfing Christmas

Well the Flickr site is pretty much completely labeled and captioned now. I have done my best to go picture by picture and add tags and to put them all into appropriate sets. I am sure that there is a lot missed and a lot wrong but the bulk is done. That was a lot of work.

I did manage to post the awesome shot that I took with the Nikon from my living room window: Manhattan Skyline from 1180 Raymond Blvd., Newark, NJ. That picture is great. I did a search on Google today for “1180 Raymond” and that picture ranked higher than any of the sites from the company that owns the building! But then again, we do get eleven hundred hits a day right now 🙂

It is time for Self Elfing madness. Blame my father for this one. First he elfed himself and sent it to me. So I decided that SGL needed an Elfed Scott Alan Miller. Dominica thought that that was so funny that she decided that we needed an Oreo the Elf as well. It turns out that this is Dominica the Elf. Dominica didn’t know that she had accidentally created an elf of herself and thought that she had made one of Oreo and emailed me the link. But the site was down and I wasn’t able to check it for a full day. So it turns out to not be the elf that Dominica thought that it was.

The weather has been in the sixties the last couple of days here in Newark. I can’t believe that it is December at all. Today it is a bit cooler and I actually had to put on a fleece! It was overcast this morning but partially cloudy this afternoon and still in the fifties. Can’t complain though. NJ weather is awesome.

I got into work around eleven today but it took me forever before I was able to do anything productive because my computer crashed twice before I could even open my email. Oh, the joys of outdated Windows. In many ways I miss Windows NT 4.0 SP6a. That was one seriously solid operating system. It wasn’t flashy and it stayed around long enough to get the kinks worked out of it and everyone knew how to use it and how to fix it. If it just didn’t need to reboot between each network change it would have been perfect! (That rebooting issue was unbelievable.) It is amazing how many shops, even today with the third replacement for NT 4.0 right around the corner, still run on NT 4.0 without any real issues. The biggest problem is aging hardware and not the software at all. If Microsoft had kept up with security fixes for NT 4.0 and gotten it up to SP7 like they had planned or, by now, SP8 I bet there would be a huge market share still running on it. It would be the perfect choice for shops needed 32bit Windows apps but don’t use .NET. Not a huge share of the market but a big chunk. But that would have cost Microsoft a fortune to have done. Oh well.

I got to go to lunch with my team at the office today. It is Friday and I went for fish and chips. I haven’t had good fish and chips for a while. I wasn’t going to get it but scrod is my favourite and I couldn’t pass it up.

Tonight’s plan is for Dominica to work on her A+ certification and for me to work on servers destined for a move to Scranton over the weekend. I don’t have a schedule from Scranton yet of when they can receive a shipment but I am not sure when I will be able to go there either. So we will be playing the weekend by ear.

I have been attempting to contact NJIT about their Master’s of IS program but they have not been in the office and have not called me back. I have been digging on their site and the bottom line is that it really looks like the program is just a blow-off program that is really simple and basic and full of fluff (which is what several of their grads have told me) and not very serious but would not work well for me, even to just get a degree quickly, because they have a bunch of non-IT fluff requirements that they make you do before getting into the program (extra math beyond Calc II, accounting – what does accounting have to do with IT?) It is all just an excuse to get a few thousand extra dollars from you by forcing everyone to take rudimentary bridge classes. So RIT looks like it is going to be the way to go which is a highly respected school. So that makes me happy. But the program will be longer and a lot more work than NJIT’s program.

It was a quiet day in the office today. Not that that wasn’t as expected. But this month is looking to be awesome.

I got to leave the office around half past five which isn’t bad at all. Traffic was awful getting home tonight though. Friday nights are the worst because everyone is driving somewhere or other all of the time. The roads are just packed.

When I got home we discovered an announcement from the building management here at 1180 Raymond – our showers, sauna and steamrooms down in the health club are supposed to be open as of tomorrow! Awesome. But even better than that we noticed that they have manage to procure both an XBOX 360 (which we had been expecting) but also a Sony PS3 for our media center! Oh yeah baby! Playstation 3 for our apartment. Whoo-hoo. How cool is that? They didn’t even tell us ahead of time that they had gotten one. We thought that they would probably put in a PS2 or something but we had no idea that an actual PS3 would arrive – at least not so soon. So we are very excited about that and glad that we are not getting one this year as we can now easily wait until next year and have had time to have played it to be sure that it is something that we would really use.

Dominica decided that she was taking the entire evening off and just playing video games all night. Specifically The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap which is one of her new favourite games even though it really frustrates her because it is quite difficult.

My job this evening is getting servers ready to be shipped to Scranton. This is no small project. There is much work that needs to be done before a server is ready to go and everything has to be in place and just so because once the equipment is located at the data center there then there is no real way to access it again and that can be a real problem as we have discovered very recently with the two big SGL outages.

The wind was really awful tonight. Up here on the higher floors it gets exceptionally windy and very loud. It was so windy that I could hear heavy equipment getting knocked over in the street down below.

I had to stay up quite late tonight working on the servers that are going to Scranton. Not my favourite thing in the world to do but it has to be done. I will feel a lot better once these boxes are safely located in Pennsylvania. Not only will they not be taking up valuable space in my tiny apartment but they will actually be doing some good instead of just being lumps of metal. It takes way too long from the time a new machine gets purchased until it actually gets used.

One of the cool things that I got a chance to do tonight was to do my very first installation of the newly released openSUSE 10.2 operating system. I have been working with the SUSE family of operating systems for many years now – I think I starting using SUSE as my preferred Linux in 2000 – and I am always excited to have a chance to roll out a new version. Tonight I installed the 32bit x86 version. I am hoping that if I have some spare time this weekend that I will have an opportunity to upgrade by desktop machine, which is AMD64 based, to openSUSE 10.2 as well but that might have to wait for another week or so.

While I was waiting for one thing or another (which seems to be my destiny) I managed to spend a lot of time reading Joel Spolsky’s book “Joel on Software” named for the blog from which it is taken. I was able to read almost eighty pages tonight.

One thing that I discovered by staying up so late, maybe for the first time in this apartment, is that my next door neighbour makes a bit of noise at night. I can hear the radio or television or something pretty clearly. I noticed how much I could hear even over the very loud servers that I was working on.

Oreo stayed out in the living room with me the entire time that I was working. He just settled in on the futon and went right to sleep.

I didn’t get nearly as much done as I had hoped that I would but I did manage to make good progress tonight.

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