February 2, 2007: Groundhog Day and the Ralstons’ Anniversary

Dominica wanted it mentioned on SGL that she remembered the Ralstons’ Anniversary all on her own.

Wheaton had a really good post the other day talking about the terror hoax in Boston which was actually just a mistake by the city officials and the local Boston media trying to get some ratings by claiming that there was a hoax when there wasn’t. He makes the point, which is incredibly valid, that if the police, government, media, et all don’t stop crying wolf then there is going to be no way to ever deal with a real threat. It is the Boston media who are to blame mostly, it would appear, for elevating kids with toys to the status of terrorist. If this is what the media what to think terrorist look like then we will all get bored and start ignoring the media. Oh wait, too late.

People probably wonder what I read every day. Actually, you probably don’t but I figure that I might want to look back someday at what I read every day in February, 2007 so I am going to make a list. I get RSS feeds for Google News, Wil Wheaton don Net, Linux Today, OSNews, Jonathan Schwartz’s Blog (CEO and President of SUN Microsystems), The Old New Thing (by Raymond Chen of Microsoft), The Jedi Council Speaks, Joel on Software, Freshmeat (just a feed of new software as it releases), Google’s Testing Blog, Labor for the Harvest Blog, XKCD and Scott Adams’ Blog. I have recently added several IT news services like eWeek, InfoWorld, MSDN and TechNet. RSS is a beautiful thing. I actually am not using an RSS feed aggregator because I can’t install one easily at the office so I use the Wizz plug-in to Firefox to handle the RSS feeds.

I worked from home this morning so that I could spend some time with Oreo. He can’t go to daycare so he needs people to stay home with him as much as possible. He has never gotten used to being home alone. We are keeping the apartment pretty warm so that he doesn’t cough so much – he normally only coughs when he is breathing cold air or he is exerting himself like when he runs around. So I took him for a walk and fed him his lunch at eleven. Our concierge is going to pop in around noon to visit with him a little bit and see how he is doing. Then Dominica is planning on going home around half past one or maybe two this afternoon to walk him again. So at no point will he be alone for very long. We are hoping that he will be happy enough with that arrangement. Given that he is fighting off a cold or something he is probably going to be pretty happy to sleep quite a bit today.

The original plan had been for Dominica, Oreo and I to head for Geneseo tonight so that we could do more packing but the weather looks as though it is not going to be in our favour to head north tonight so we decided to just stay in Newark this weekend especially as Oreo is not feeling well and being up in Geneseo in very cold weather would not be likely to help his throat at all. It will do him good to have a relaxed weekend in Newark with nothing going on. I do need to work tomorrow anyway so being in Geneseo is not as useful for that as being in Newark is. Although I was looking forward to installing Microsoft Vista tomorrow and seeing how it works. I have Office 2007 ready to install as well although I played with that in Beta so I am pretty familiar with it already. For those of you who are die hard MS Office fans, I think that you will like Office 2007. It has quite some learning curve compared to past updates but I think that the new interface, in the long run, is going to make life easier for application support staff.

For the longest time I have been meaning to put a link on SGL but I keep forgetting about it. In Rye Harbor, NH there is a restaurant that my parents and I went to one time when we were vacationing there. We used to stop in the area on our way to Bar Harbor, ME. Strangely enough, Andy’s family used to stop in the same area and he was familiar with the same restaurant. Possibly more strange is that both of us remembered that restaurant. Once, probably in 1999, Andy and I both took a weekend off from work and drove all of the way out to New Hampshire, ate and drove back to Rochester. Maybe not a record setting food road trip but definitely in the top few. You can check out Ray’s Seafood Restaurant online.

Our BMW damage woes continue. After having our BMW get into an accident in the parking garage some months ago and after going through a lengthy process to track down someone who could actually deal with the situation and then after getting the damage appraisal we have since been running around for two months attempting to get the damage paid for even though Central Parking has admitted fault. They claimed in December to have sent us a check but we never received one. It was fishy as they never told us that they were going to send us a check. Awfully strange for them to just throw one in the mail and hope for the best. I spoke to them in January and they said that they would cancel the check that had never arrived and issue a new one this time to our actual home in Newark because the first check had been sent to a random address that they just assumed would be okay without ever checking with us. Then, after waiting several weeks, I called again as no check has ever arrived and now they tell us that they couldn’t send the second check as the first check was cashed. This is getting fishier and fishier. The whole situation sounds like a scam. If they were sending out a check why would they not have told us, ever, that they were agreeing to pay us until after the check was already “lost”? So next week they promise to produce a copy of the canceled check and we can see who they issued it to. While there is some remote possibility that we cashed the check somewhere I cannot imagine where or when. Especially as my bank account has had a total of four deposits since long before that check was ever supposedly issued. Pretty hard to hide an almost $1,000 deposit! So we will see. The BMW has been damaged from Central Parking for about five months now which is outrageous as we have only owned the car for about eight months! That car was supposed to be garaged this winter and we have not been able to do that either.

One of the guys at work introduced me to the Mvix device the other day. I haven’t had a chance to look at this device until today and boy was I surprised by how impressive this little baby is – at least on paper. My favourite features are Xvid and DivX video support, 1080p output, upscaling, direct DVD playing (no additional level of compression so you get them at full quality,) BYOH (bring your own hard drive,) DVI output, included remote control and Ogg Vorbis audio support! On paper this thing is truly amazing. And when I priced it out it was bad at all. Every shop that I looked at had it for $299. Add $199 for a good, large hard drive and for $500 you can have a potentially amazing how entertainment hub. Unfortunately it only holds a single hard drive which can be a problem as DVD content is often around 5GB in size and that means that a 750GB hard drive can only hold one hundred and fifty movies at full quality. And that is movies – if you start adding television shows it is going to plummet quickly. If you could fit four or five hard drives in it it would help a lot. But hard drives continue to outpace optical storage mechanisms so in a year or two a future Mvix model is sure to be able to hold a more impressive collection. But I would need a drive in the range of 5 terabytes to be able to store my current collection so I will need to continue to look for alternatives until drive sizes increase considerably. Ogg Vorbis support is very important to me as my entire music collection is currently converted to OV and ready to be transferred over to this player.

Even though I know that the BMW issue will be resolved and that this isn’t a big deal this is what I classify as a “blue event” – at least in my mind that is what I call it. No matter how much I know that this isn’t my fault and that there is nothing for me to do but wait and that it will all be fine and we will get to the bottom of it in no time and that even if things go horribly wrong and they try to take advantage of us that we have plenty of leverage and have nothing to worry about it still puts me in a funk. It sucks. I wish that I was better at taking these things in stride and not letting it bother me. It is too difficult to not become emotionally committed to these events and it isn’t good for you.

Construction going on at the office today reach a point where it was getting difficult to work. Not because of the noise level but because it felt like an earthquake and out monitors were bouncing all over the place.

A bit of my weekend work got canceled because other people were not ready for it. So that will give me more time to relax and to get caught up with other things. I am still working on getting the BugZilla installer working the way that I want but that is getting close.

I didn’t get to leave work until around seven.  I got home and Dominica and I immediately went out to Food for Life for dinner.  After dinner we went to the health club and got setup with our memberships which just started yesterday and got a little tour of some of the new stuff.  Then we went down to the basement and got a tour of the stuff that has been added down there that we haven’t seen yet like the bowling alley, media room and half basketball court.  The media room was supposed to have an XBOX 360 and a PS3 but they actually just got a PS2 which isn’t nearly as cool.  I am guessing that someone writing the announcement doesn’t know the difference and just wrote down whatever seemed popular.  So we plan to get some XBOX 360 and PS2 games so that we can use the media room.  We figure that since the systems are provided for us we should at least get some good games to play on them.  There are no good games provided for them.

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