April 5, 2002

Another day, another update. It will be hard to keep today as interesting as yesterday was. We added a bit of content yesterday. We also submitted SGL to the Google search engine. Hopefully we will get indexed this time. We don’t come up on a search there right now. Maybe in a week or so.

I forgot to mention in all the excitement the other day that while the guys where in NYC (Nate, Zach and Bob) that they managed to go out to Coyote Ugly. And they say that it really is just like the movie. They were watching the movie again the other night as well.

In sad news that I forgot to mention… My brass monkey has finally died. He was hanging out in my bathroom by the sink when he got knocked over and crashed into the procellain sink. He was laid to rest this morning. He will be missed by all.

I guess that I should give a hydroponics updates as well. Eric will be happy about that. The basil plant, “Basil” we will call him, has been growing in my bathroom since early November, 2001 and he is still alive and doing fine. I trimmed him today, changed his water giving him a thorough cleaning, misted him and fed him. I also added some of the trellis supports that came with the kit so he is standing up a bit more now. He is looking pretty good. The whole system is pretty simple. A bucket of water that is full of a salt substance that the plant uses as food and a fish tank airation system to keep the water fresh and moving and to keep air on the roots. Not very complicated but I am surprised that I have managed to keep Basil doing as well as he has been since I am so bad at taking care of him. He also gets very little sunlight where he is and the room is often cold which makes it that much harder for him. The funniest thing is that this basil plant has grown from an already picked basil plant that I bought at Wegman’s that they were selling for food. Not to grow. So, I am going to deem the experiment a success.

With the expected arrival of my new computer (very, very soon, I hope) I have decomissioned by Linux machine that has had the prominent place on my desk for quite some time now. Parts were taken from it recently to bolster my Win2K machine and the last information is being recorded from it now so that it can be dismantled. The time comes in the life of every computer when it can no longer be used in service. But it is always a sad day. Zoe will be missed by us all. It is my hope that the processor from Zoe will have the opportunty to live on as one of two Pentium III 600s that I want to install into our database server in Washington. Zoe, in some form, may have the opportunity to see service for some time to come if she is lucky. Her hard drive will be able to continue service (as it is an IBM UltraATA100 80GB drive) in my new computer as one of three drives. My cousing Sara is going to be receiving this new machine so that she can start working on Web and 3D graphics design. I put a bit of time into rebuilding this machine today. It is nice to know that Zoe won’t fade into memory just yet.

One of the most exciting things today is a new web log analyzer that we are trying out. As soon as we have some numbers, I will let you see them. I think that it will be really interesting to see who is coming to our little web site here. Our web logs are not the most complete ones out there. They are pretty basic – but some basic data is quite interesting. We could get more complete date if we paid for more expensive web analysis software, but what is the point in that? I did find the bad link to Osama.html that apparently has been broken for a very long time and no one has mentioned to me. Maybe no one goes and reads our funny stuff section:( It would be very sad if I posted all of those funny things and nobody ever read them.

Today’s web site of the day is going to be Changing-Faces.net. This one requires a Java enabled browser to really see. If it works on your browser, you will get a cute little doodling application to play with. Again, this site is thanks to Loopy.

April 4, 2002

Ok, I found another missing Horizontal Rule. At least I am keeping the site up to date. No one can complain about that. It takes a lot of work to keep a site like this current you know! I added two new buttons over on the right. As usual, it will take a while for the new images to propogate through the system. I just wanted to make some quick and easy links to some of the places that I know our readers are going to all of the time. I also added some spacing between the buttons. See if we like that any better. I think that it looks a little bit nicer this way. I also added “alt” properties to all of the img tags on this page for compliance reasons. You might notice them here and there when picutes take a long time to load.

I realized recently that the style of my ramblings on here seems (to me at least) to be similar to Lisa Astor’s bizarre commentary on Audiophile life, Astor Place in Stereophile Magazine. If you like this site, you will love her articles. But you have to understand Audiophiles for the articles to really make sense. I think that her writing is totally hilarious. I get Stereophile just to read her articles. I cut them out of every issue and keep them in my filing cabinet.

For those of you interested in getting all of the functionality of Microsoft Office but don’t want to pay the outragous sticker fee, you should be looking into OpenOffice 1.0 which is about to release. OpenOffice is the latest incarnation of SUN’s StarOffice which has been competing with MS Office since around 1985 in Europe. OpenOffice has recently released its final release candidate for version 1.0. I have now installed this software three times and am using it myself. I think that a lot of people are going to be very happy with this software, it is a real quality product and it is completely free. The download is only about 47MB so it isn’t all that bad. It isn’t perfect and using it on Windows NT systems (NT, 2K and XP) requires a little finessing but once you have it installed, it seems to be working like a champ. And some of those bugs may be fixed by the time it goes to its official release.

Ok, so Joe reads the site so often that he emailed me within two hours of the last update to say that we should bring back the Llama of the Month award. So, here we go…


I will try to get a Llama of the Month page put together to list each of the monthly Llamas. I am going to need lots of people to start sending in stuff to help out with the site to earn their own Llama of the Month awards. Ok, I guess the page is ready before I was even planning it. It isn’t much yet but at least it is there. Today has been a busy day in the Land of the Llamas. Updates all over the place on the page. The Lifestyle Button has been added. This button links to the website of the rental company (Lifestyle Properties) that rents us the Llama House. Not only does this page have a picture of one of the houses next to us on it, but it also is a page designed by our very own Loopy.

It looks like Eric and I are going to get a chance to fly into New Orleans when we travel down to Hattiesburg, MS because that is the nearest large airport. So, we are excited about that since neither of us has ever been to Louisianna at all. That will be very interesting. We are quite excited. We will, most likely, even get a chance to spend a night there before driving up to Hattiesburg.

I have remember to have another site of the day. This one comes to us courtesy of Loopy. Check out www.sneeze.com. I will do my best to keep this feature coming in the future.

Well, I tried to space out the menu a little bit but an error displaying it in Mozilla / Netscape keeps it from working correctly. Back to the drawing board, I guess.

April 3, 2002

I am doing my best to keep these updates coming as often as possible. It takes a lot of work to write so much content for a site like this you know. Take a look at the 2001 Archive page and see how much there is in there. It is out of control. And we didn’t start until part way through the year and I missed huge amounts of time too.

Technical Note: For those of you using browsers like Mozilla, Netscape 6, Internet Explorer or Opera (which constitutes just about all of you – you can’t hide from me because I can read the logs,) you can use the F5 key to force a refresh of a web page. Which means if, for example, you go to Anne’s Bio page and don’t see her latest Bio entry listed but you know that it should be up, try pressing F5 and see if it appears. Web pages get cached on you computer or sometimes on a proxy server to speed up performance but sometimes this can cause you to be looking at old content. Just something to keep in mind.

It is so nice to have the economy picking back up. I think that those of us who work in IT may be some of the first to see things really turning around. In January, I was lucky if I got called once that entire month with someone interested in hiring me. Now, I am on the phone and email everyday with three or four different people talking about jobs here or there. It is quite a relief knowing that you are in demand again. Loopy has definitely noticed since he is now back at work again. I am expecting to be doing a contract at least once this month if not more.

Today is the first day that I have managed to be able to download a copy of the new OpenOffice final release candidate to try out. OpenOffice is replacing StarOffice as SUN’s free competition to Microsoft Office. I have now installed OO twice and so far it is pretty nice. As soon as it is available in final release, I will have a link available so that you can download it as well. OO is well worth the download… MS Office XP compatability and cross platform support for free! Works for me. The download is only 50MB so it isn’t all that bad. The new version runs faster but has a few less features than the old SO 5.2. But some of those features, like a built in web browser and an integrated desktop were more annoying than useful and just made for a larger and slower download and slower load times. This new office should be a bit more responsive.

Eric and I headed up to Newark this morning for a meeting with the VIA Health System of Wayne County. That was very exciting. We had an effective day, though, and are going to be flying down to Hattiesburg, Mississippi coming up in a few weeks. That should be fun. Neither of us have ever been to Mississippi. We will take the opportunity to come back through Washington, DC and pick up my Buick.

My main computer, the one that I am using now, runs Windows 2000 Pro and has slowly been degrading over the last year or so since it has been running. Windows 2000 eventually slows down too much and you have to reinstall it to make everything work again. So, last night I cleaned out the inside of my computer, blew out the dust that has collected, added new memory (I now have 512MB in this machine) and switched from a PCI VooDoo4 to a GeForce2 MX400 (Loopy’s old one – he upgraded to a GeForce4 Ti4400 two days ago.) Then I reinstalled Win2K. It only took three hours or so and the computer is back up and running better than ever now. I am so glad that I have the computer set up in such a way that I am able to easily reinstall because it can end up being quite an ordeal if you don’t have everything ready to do it. It only took me 30 minutes of so to get ready ahead of time. Most of that time was just double checking things to be sure that I wouldn’t lose anything that I needed.

Since I upgraded my computer, I also switched to the newest version of HTML-Kit and am now using Build 292 Beta. I also just noticed that I had left out some of the Horizontal Rules that go on the page. I wish somebody would mention these things. I know that you are all out there looking at the site. Actually, Bob and Nate actually read the site today which is pretty unusual.

Not much real news today. Nothing exciting happening here. Somebody email me or something! Speaking of emailing me, I need people to email me with ideas about what we should be adding to the site. We need more cool stuff for people to come and check out but I do not know what needs to be added. I am open to suggestions.

April 2, 2002

So Nate doesn’t have any insurance (beyond liability) on his crispy car so that totally sucks. It is kind of annoying having a house of five people and only three cars. It wouldn’t have been so bad if Loopy hadn’t just started working at Cornell so his car isn’t even here anymore.

Flag of BelgiumAnne is trying to keep up with me! Update number fourteen is now available in her Bio section.

Canadian FlagIn Canadian news, Loopy is heading to North Bay this coming Friday and spending the weekend up there in the frozen north country. Also (I mention this because I know that none of you ever reads the news) the Queen Mother has died.

For the first time, really, Loopy and I used the web site to look up events from a year ago so that we could tell how long it has been. It is really handy having your life written down on a web site so that people can look up when things happened to you.

Dominica has an interview today. She hasn’t decided yet exactly what she is going to be doing. She wants to go back to grad school (She has a BSc in Biology and so might go for a BSc in Chemistry before going on for a MS in BioChem) but she needs to work and pay for school as well so she is undecided as to how she wants to do it. She has already put in notice at her old job (one month’s notice – not two weeks) and so she is stuck with figuring out something right away. Maybe she will end up working in a hotel just like Loopy, Phil and I used to do. Actually, speaking of which, Phil is back in the hotel business again working at the Hampton Inn in Rochester – right across the street from the old Wellesley Inn where Loopy and I worked circa 1999 (May 1998 – February 2000 for me. July 1998? – February 2000 for Loopy.) What a great job that was. Low stress. Free food (donuts.) Overnight shift. That is where I had a chance to first get certified and get working in my field. I had done some low level work in IT in 1994 & 1995 but needed to do something to get to where I really wanted to be. While I was at the Wellesley, I managed to get my Microsoft Engineering Cert (MCSE, MCP+I and MCP) as well as a semi-cert from Novell and two certs from CompTIA (A+ and Network+.) In January & February 2000, after I knew I was leaving and we finally had an internet connection in the office at the hotel, I also did some Brainbench testing and got seven or eight BCP certs as well. It was while I was at the Wellesley in 1999 (the same year that I wasn’t able to drive because I had lost my drivers license) that I had the opportunity to interview at a million different places and I got a lot of the interviewing experience that I have now. It was also during this time that I met John Nicklin and that led to Loopy and I helping start the Waste Watcher project. What a lot happened that year. Loopy and I ran our own small consulting business during 1999 as well. Miller – West Consulting it was called. It is hard to believe that we have come so far.