May 1, 2009: Finally a Free Weekend

Well I reached the basement, turned on the computer and… it worked.  Must be a fluke, I assume.  But maybe I was working on it too late last night for it to have triggered the failure condition that I have been seeing.  The only thing that happens at night is that the SpiceWorks server sends out a Wake on LAN packet in the middle of the night so that all of the machines are scanned and on and ready in the morning.  It is this startup process that consistently finds the machine having failed.  But since the WoL system is simply a “power on” initiated by the NIC it seems to be such a distant impossibility that it is actually connected to the start up problem which is lost data on the drive that it does not even seem to be worth considering.

Anyway it is working today so I guess I should count my blessings.  It doesn’t die while I am working on it, only during startup so it will make it through today.  I am writing today’s post on it, in fact.  I am going to give it the weekend to see how it does.  If it makes it until Monday then I will attempt to not worry about it.

As Timothy noted in yesterday’s comments, it seems like I should just replace the thing and be done with it.  I would.  I want to.  But I hate “throwing out” such a good machine in general.  It just doesn’t sit well with me.  And I really have been trying to resist buying any new computer until Windows 7 releases.  It isn’t that I am one of these fanatic anti-Vista people.  I think that Vista is fine.  But Microsoft consistently bounces between long term operating systems and short term hold overs.  Windows NT 4 lasted for a very long time, then Windows 2000 was a flash in the pan, then XP broke NT 4’s record, then Vista came and went and XP still rules the roost.  Now 7 is set to release with XP far too old to hang around long and Vista having barely gotten a foot hold.  It isn’t about the technology its just abou the business cycles and investing in Windows 7 is very likely a good, long term investment.  And since my machines tend to have extremely long lifecycles as they get redeployed in any number of scenarios over the years it is very important to keep things like this in mind.  Windows 7 is now slated to have the awesome new feature of including a Windows XP virtualization license with it giving me, sort of, two boxes in one if I can wait that long.

Work was busy.  Big surprise there.  Dominica got up this morning and left Liesl with me and ran to Dunkin Donuts because she really wanted to get a cafe latte.  We are on a water shortage at home because of a water main break on Maple last night that has left us with less than attractive water today.  So we are on limited amounts of bottled water at the moment.  So she picked up coffee and breakfast sandwiches while she was out.

I worked all day.  The usual.  Nothing really worth mentioning.  Today was a really productive day, though.  Much moreso than the rest of the week has been.  Park of this is, obviously, because today was the first day that I was not working on rebuilding any computer at all at any point during the day.  Nor was I installing a new printer.

I did get a chance to build a new Red Hat Linux 5.3 server today which I have been needing to do all week.  I only managed to complete the base build but tomorrow morning my plan is to get Elastix installed so that I can test out the VoIP services available on that platform.  It has been a while since I had an Asterisk installation up and running and I am anxious to get one working again.

This afternoon Dominica went out and did grocery shopping and hit Dunkin Donuts again for another round of coffee.  She is getting addicted to their cafe lattes.

This evening, once work was finally done and Liesl had gone to bed, Dominica and I watched Quantum of Solace on BluRay that we got from NetFlix.  That was definitely really good and the best James Bond film that I have seen in a long time.  Possibly the best Bond film yet.  They have really taken a turn for the serious and are making the series into a real story and not just a bunch of disjointed movies.  This makes me want to go back and read the books to see if this is the series that Flemming had always meant to have made.

Oreo decided to be Mr. Snuggles tonight and he spent the entire movie snuggling with me on the big recliner.  I didn’t want to give up puppy snuggles so we decided to watch another movie.  It has been a long time since I have had a chance to relax at all.  So we looked on NetFlix and decided to watch Change of Habit which is the final Elvis Presley movie.  Made in 1969 it stars Elvis (pre drugs peanut butter and bananas) playing an inner city doctor at a free clinic and Mary Tyler Moore (pre-face melting alien) playing a nun / nurse / speech therapist.

The movie was mostly bad but then they have a seen where they torture an autistic girl that was one of the most offensive movie moments ever.  The “stupid” nurse tries for two minutes to show “love and affection” to an autistic girl.  (They also claim that parents leaving their children at a young age makes them autistic – not that it is a nearological difference.)  When the girl throws a block rather than putting it into the shape on the puzzle board – after about fifteen seconds of the nurse working with her, not after months of therapy – the wise, kind, knowledgable male doctor takes the girl away from the nurse – who was only allowed to try the block thing to patronize her – and squeezes her causing immense tactile discomfort, complete torture to an autistic child.  He does this without stopping for what they seem to imply is hours.  The foolish nurse holds her feet causing more pain.

They just hurt her and hurt her while repeating “we love you” over and over again like a cult.  After several hours of nothing but physical pain and torture the girl is magically cured and is happy, healthy and able to communicate normally.  Just a normal, every day girl.  Horribly, horribly offensive.  I can only imagine that one of the movie writers had someone in the family who was autistic and needed special attention and that they were jealous or something and wanted to make people think that autism was a cry for attention and wrote this to lash out at a group of people that he didn’t understand.  Or just someone who hates anyone who is different.

And all of that doesn’t even begin to address the massive sexism and racism in the film.  This was 1969, not 1949.  Mary Tyler Moore films and shows really stand out as being anti-women throughout her career.  When compared against other shows the same eras hers really show women consistently as being trivial and pointless.

The good part of the movie was that Ed Asner was in it.  This must have been the movie where he and Mary Tyler Moore met because it was only a year later that Asner was playing MTM’s boss in the MTM Show.

Before going to bed I went down to the basement to check my messages.  It is a good thing that I did.  I had a note from Danielle that they had a bit of a pickle.  When they were at our house they had had a laptop start to die and so had decided to go buy a new laptop so that they would have working machines in the Congo next month.  They really can’t be going to the Congo without working laptops.

In the switch over from the old laptop to the new their Congo presentations had not been transferred and now they are in Miami with nothing but their laptops and no presentations!  The Lord was totally watching over them because, when they were here, Danielle had made a DVD with the PowerPoint presentations on it that we didn’t really need for anything because we watched the presentations off of the laptops.  Then the disc was left here for no particular reason.  It was a very “should we leave this disc here”, “yeah, why not” kind of thing.

So Danielle emailed tonight knowing that we had the only accessible copies of the presentation!  They are too big to send via email and none of those media upload sites work at all.  I tried a few of them and they all error out one way or another.  QuikFiles failed on upload.  MediaFire (which I think is a scam – they show phishing advertising and use questionable tactics to raise money) took the files but doesn’t make them available for download.  Chris and I had tried working with them before using a paid-for Pro account and that didn’t work at all either.  I am pretty sure that they are not a real business but literally an Internet scam business.  I’ve spent quite literally hours working with unable to transfer a single file.

In the end we got the files posted onto the web site so that anyway can grab them now whenever they are needed.  So it was after two in the morning when I was finally able to head off to bed.

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