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I Hate Linux

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Unreliable Messaging

If my problems with Trillian over the last few years weren’t bad enough... it seems I am having major problems with the internet these days.

For the last couple of months I’d been having some major issues with one of my domain names, dahat.com to be exact and it’s not always able to be hit with my e-mail client for anywhere from 10 to 60 min at a time. During this time... the web page itself would also be inaccessible.

Over time, I began suspect that I was also losing e-mails, and early this week I verified that during these down times... most e-mails sent to my server were lost.

After taking this up with my host, they said:

Your site is working fine in our end. If you have any problem in accessing your website in your end you can check in any of the web anonymous browsers like http://proxify.com or http://the-cloak.com, do check and get back to us if you need any further assistance in this regard.

To which I reminded them that in my first e-mail, I had mentioned that I had already tested the site from multiple, geographically separated internet connections (many with different ISP’s as well)... and that their suggested tests would just further support what I already know.

They replied later with this lovely response:

We are facing some network outage problem with our Data center. And we are keep in touch with them. We are expecting your kind co-operation and understanding in this regard. And will update you once problem is resolved.

Thanks for your patience and kind co-operation. Have a nice day.

They dare to expect anything from me when they first lie to me about things being fine, and then admit some issues?

I have since transferred the hosting to another, more reliable host.

Interestingly enough... in just a few hours I received more mail on the new host than I did on the old one over the previous few days.

I think it’s safe to assume that my old host was losing mail... mail whose source and topics I do not know.

First thing next week, I will be officially canceling my account with them and demanding a full refund for all of the hosting I received over the last year. A fair resolution I think considering what has occurred, as well as to prevent my giving negative reviews with their name (which was not mentioned here.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Go Time!

I admit it... for the last 4 hours Ive been watching my PCs clock...waiting for that magical 5:00 PM string, signaling the end of my week and the beginning of 10 days off for Christmas and New Years.

Now... its time for a 4.5 hour drive to Minneapolis and tax free clothing shopping (I need more wool socks) there before Christmas!

Of course... Im not the only anxious one. For the last hour or two, little groups would appear in different labs, casually chatting, trying to pass the time.

One co-worker came up with a unique method... he signed out for 5:00 at 4:50... so that when 5 comes around... he doesnt have to waste time signing out.

Done with Barnes & Noble

I love buying things online, but sometimes, I want/need something quicker than the UPS man can get it to my house... so I’ll venture out and try to find it locally.

In support of my upcoming 70-340 exam, this week I was trying to find a copy of the Tony Northrup book MCAD/MCSD Self-Paced Training Kit: Implementing Security for Applications with Microsoft Visual Basic .NET and Microsoft Visual C# .NET, the only prep book for 70-340.

Having no chance of finding it in the town of Madison (where I live), I visited the local Barnes & Noble in Sioux Falls over lunch one day to see... to see if the only place that would have any chance of stocking it within 100 miles had it. The answer?

No, but we can order it for you.

To which I replied:

If I wanted to wait 3-5 days for a book, I could buy it off of Amazon or elsewhere for half of what you would charge me.

It amazes me how a brick and mortar store like B&N still exists. Granted, I am not a typical customer, it has been my experience over the years that they simply never have the book I am looking for at the time. Of course, this does become a bit of a self fulfilling prophesy.

I go in, not find the book I want and buy it online. Later, when I need another book, remembering my last experiences, I order it online again. Later, when I really need a specific book quickly (and one that they are not likely to have in stock) I go in... only to be let down again.

Not that B&N has received much of my money over the years, I think it’s safe to say that I am done dealing with them as I only end up with disappointment when I am there.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

How the striking transit workers can win

As some may know, I am anti-organized labor. Big time.

Today, much to my shame... I realized how the illegally striking transit workers in New York could not only get all of their demands... but possibly secure much much more.

How is this? With the catch word of the 21st century: Terrorism.

Picture this: A disgruntled New York City resident who recently lost his job due to the strike decides to lash out and hurt those who hurt him... so he comes up with some of his own explosives, straps them to his chest and gets as close to the strikers and blows himself up... taking a few MTA union members with him.

Two things would immediately happen.

First, the union would demand better protection from the city of New York, claiming that their lives are in danger due to their lax security and such an attack should never been permitted to happen.

Second, the union would come out and claim that without further (and major concessions) from the MTA, they could not return to work... otherwise the terrorists would win.

Lets not forget, the terrorists (in this case, the few persons who either live or work in New York City and would resort to violence to get their point across) want them to give up their strike and go back to work... and the only way to beat them would be to show them that they cannot win through such means and that the strike must go on, demanding more and more, showing the terrorist that they cannot win!

Later, the union would demand the retirement age be lowered to 45 (with full pension) and get 25% annual raise... and trying to play on the patriotism of New York City... would be likely to get it I fear.

Of course... for this to happen it really wouldn’t have to be a disgruntled and laidoff/fired employee of some company affected by the strike... it could be a union member willing to take one for the team. Stranger things have happened.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

30 days until 70-340

Whenever I sign up for a cert test, I like to schedule it a couple of weeks (up to a month) in advance, forcing a time for it to be taken so that I do not dillydally with regards to studying or other preparations.

Yesterday I signed up for my next text, 70-340, "Implementing Security for Applications with Microsoft® Visual C#® .NET", which after passing (I hope), will put me just one test away from an MCSD which with any luck (and dedication), I could have done before March of 06 given my current history.

While this is the first test that I’ve had some uncertainty relating to before hand, I do hope I pass, as being able to mention my having passed 4 certification tests since the last effective review date of 02/05 would no doubt help me a bit come reviews in this February (provided they are not delayed for 6 months as they were this year).

Also, one of these weeks I should look into the new wave of certs for the 2.0 Framework and VS2005, they do look rather interesting, and different.

Monday, December 19, 2005

RIP Seti Classic

After being a member for just over six and a half years, the original version of Seti@Home has closed down in favor of the new BOINIC system.

Starting off ages ago on an old AMD K5-133, it took me just over 2 days to do a single work unit... which did not encourage me to run it often... so I took off a year until I had more hardware... and then went insane with it.

While at DSU I had access (for a time) to a 4 processor Sun machine on which I’d run multiple copies of Seti (until the admin would nuke the processes, suspecting that they were just run of the mill runaway processes). As I upgraded my main PC, older PC’s would be devoted to Seti processing. At one time in my house I had 5 separate PC’s at it, as well as up to 6 at work.

Heck, the joke around work was that anytime I had control of any hardware, one of the first things I would do would be to run Seti on it... and believe it or not, it actually benefited us... once. One prototype unit we were building was found to have inadequate cooling, which was only revealed by running Seti on it.

While I understand why they are upgrading to the new system, I am still rather sad to see the old one go, in large part because the statistics and bragging rights from the old system are less important. Being able to say that one processed 30046 packets, or that out of 5,436,301 users, I was in 6647th place, having completed more work units than 99.878% of the users (I had always hoped to reach 3 nines).

Oh well, I’ll miss you Seti classic. Now I just need to figure out how to get the new BOINIC client to work under Linux machines, or in an install-less windows configuration (so that it can be run over the network.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Did Daschle replace Bush?

... or was it Kirk?

While waiting for Family Guy this evening, I watched the address from President Bush. While overall I agree with and liked what he said... early on, I found myself being rubbed the wrong way by how he was saying it.

Here in South Dakota, for many years, we had an, interesting senator by the name, of Tom Daschle. When he would give a speech, he would, pause, at odd times, not unlike another well known individual, Captain James T Kirk, from Star Trek. It occurred to me, that President Bush, was speaking in a very similar way, as if he would read everything on the teleprompter, and have to wait for, it to be scrolled, to the next set of words.

Don’t believe me? Read the above paragraph while pausing for anywhere between 1/2 to 4 seconds each time you hit a comma.

This was how Bush spoke this evening, at least from where I sat, and it served as a good reminder, of why it would not be a good idea, that Tom Daschle should not be elected president. Why? Because people like me, would continue to go insane, anytime we listened, to him talk, naps could be taken, in between sentences. I fear to see how long, a Tom Daschle State, Of The Union, would be.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Current Student Load Debt

After having a few people ask about my current student loan debt and disliking looking it up so much... I decided to do something slightly different... an ASP.NET web app that keeps track of my current debt load, adding interest, removing payments, etc and generates a small little image noting it.

Unfortunately... neither of my web hosts currently support ASP.NET 2.0... so until I'm on a plan that does... I'll just have to remember to upload a new picture each day... or automate it a bit.

In either case... below I present, my current student loan debt ($52,115.46 as of 12/17/2005):

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Does tdaxp hate the homeless?

It seems so! This evening while briefly talking with him, telling about my receiving a free copy of Visual Studio 2005 Professional at a local .NET Users Group which held a launch event

Brendan: with so much... I've got two choices... donate/use them at work... or do something on the side...
tdaxp: kill homeless people
Brendan: if I do something on the side... I have to do something so cool that it makes it all worth it
tdaxp: kill homeless people
Brendan: or I could buy copies of bum fight and encourage them to kill each other
tdaxp: kill homeless people
Brendan: how would I use .net to do that?
tdaxp: break the DVD in half to use as a rough-and-ready knife
Brendan: ha, the dvd is too valuable to be used on such a meager task

I think we have proof... the once popular tdaxp hates homeless people and wants to have them killed. Such a shame.

Not So Expensive Reimbursement?

After having ~$840 of income (but not actual cash) being added to each of my pay checks for the last few months and fearing filing my 2005 Federal income tax return as mentioned previously... I realized my mistake today.

All of the ‘income’ being added to my paycheck will show up on my W-2 (in addition to everything before the $5250 IRS limit for not reporting)... and completely deductible, at least according to the IRS.

So in addition to the $2500 in student loan interest... I’ll also be getting to deduct nearly $12000 in tuition and $350 in books.

Of course the worst part about this I think... is that I’m still getting hosed on Social Security... all on the theory that I might get some of it years from now. Ha!

I wonder if I should also deduct driving costs for class days as well my Microsoft cert tests.

On a related note, a co-worker who is going through the same program as I didn’t have the reimbursement amounts added to his paychecks over as long of a time as I, instead he’s having them applied in full to each pay check as necessary.

Apparently he just received an e-mail saying that his next paycheck will be about 17 dollars... ouch, but then, he wants it that way believe it or not.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

girls wanting to get laid

or... Best Referral Ever!
or... Your tax dollars at work

Yesterday while going through some of the search words people found my blog with... on in particular stood out... a search for girls wanting to get laid on Yahoo. Don’t believe me? See the entry here.

Or better yet, take a look at a screenshot of it:

Note where the visit came from? The U.S. Department of the Interior. Nice to see that our tax dollars not only pay for all of the pork we all know and love... but also for people in Idaho to try to get laid. It tends to take a bit to make me offended... but this truly does it... such a waste.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Damn you Alan Greenspan!

He raised the rates another quarter point... and up again goes the cost of my non federal student loans.

Yes, alone that’s not a lot... only costing me an additional $6.98 per month in interest... of course, it bringing the rates to a full 3% higher than when I first started paying my student loans ~18 months, and I’m now paying an additional $82.89 in interest... making it that much longer before they are paid off.

Deferment Oddity

Since January 2005 I have been working on a masters degree at a local institution and one advantage of being considered a full time student again is that existing student loans go into deferment... meaning you don’t have to make payments on them during that time but still accrue interest (except for Federally subsidized loans).

My loans going into deferment didn’t really matter to me as I intended to keep paying right on through (however the few bucks in federally subsidized loans wasn’t too bad as I am able to knock down that pile a little faster).

Last week... I received a letter from one of my creditors... Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc... saying that my loan with them has now entered deferment. Why is this odd? It happened 11 months since I became a full time student again. I wonder what took them so long to get the news.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Winter 06 Booklist

With only 2 more weeks left in this semester, it’s time for that joyous time of the year... book list time!

Here with my next semester booklist as a reminder to me... the list:

Third Time's the Charm - Dead Mouse

This morning I checked my traps to a wonderful surprise... a dead mouse in the one lethal one that was setup... looks like his luck finally ran out... on my third attempt to get him.

Now for the few day long hope that he didn't have a wife and kids who might come to torment me in the days/weeks to come.

On the down side... it appears that his lucky was not as bad as I had thought... the bait had was gone from the trap that got him... as well as from within one of the non lethal traps, so we was lucky to get as much as he did... but not quite enough to get away.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Smart Mouse

Last week I found some mouse droppings on my stove... and after cleaning the surface, ignored it... until I found some more a few days later… which prompted putting a regular killing trap on the stove... baited with peanut butter.

The next morning, the bait was gone, and the trap was empty, still waiting to be triggered.

That evening, I reset the trap and put another one near by... a non lethal one, also bated with some peanut butter on a small piece of cardboard... This morning when I got up, what did I find but both traps empty of bait and bodies as well as still waiting to spring into action.

I think it’s safe to say... I’ve either got a smart mouse... or am completely inept at setting up a mouse trap.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

LOST Hates the Irish

Aside from every unrealistic and unbelievable aspect of LOST that we’ve seen so far... I realized something quite bizarre today...

On the island... we’ve got 4 black individuals, a middle eastern, a Mexican and 2 Koreans... the rest, look Caucasian (granted I haven’t spent any time studying the background people... why is it we have yet to see a single person with a sunburn?

Are we to believe that anyone on the plane of strong Irish decent was killed either in the crash or very early on?

Odd that we haven’t seen some... red haired, freckled face person step out onto the beach and burst into flames as soon as the sun touched their skin.

Granted I am not a Ginger (although my mother is), I too do not get along too well with the sun... and much time in it does cause me to get awful burned... knowing how many of us there are out there... I just surprised we haven’t seen one person in the shade the whole time due to 2nd degree sunburns (they are quite unpleasant, although doctors tend to love them as they are easy to treat).

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Windows 2003 on nForce2

Only a few months ago... I upgraded to Windows XP from my trusty 2000 I began having some serious networking issues, issues that I have yet to be able to fix. With my free copy of Visual Studio 2005 and Windows Server 2003 coming at one point as a result of the Channel 9 Halloween Costume Contest, I’m beginning to look into driver support for my various parts... only to discover something very bad...

Neither nVidia, nor ASUS provide drivers for my nForce2 based A7N8X Deluxe motherboard for Windows 2003.

Granted, the motherboard in question was first released in early 2003, I guess I find it a shame that they do not have driver support for 2003 for such a widely used chipset.

South Dakota Winter & Ditches

I love the winter... all summer long while being miserably and sweaty, I look forward to the impending change of frigid cold and blowing winds... and this year has not disappointed me yet (despite not quite being officially winter).

Here in South Dakota on Monday we had some freezing rain that turned into a blizzard by mid-afternoon resulting in large portions of or two interstates being closed, and yesterday we had ~6 more inches of snow to add to the dusting we got on Monday.

It should be noted that South Dakota is a funny place when it comes to snow... we can have a blizzard, with whiteout conditions... and when it’s all over... many areas are likely to have only a small dusting of snow... why is this? The wind! There is little here to stop it so the snow just keeps going.

One of the most fun part of any blizzard (or the time after) is driving to/from work and seeing all of the cars in the ditch belonging to people who just forgot how to drive over the summer.

Today’s count? 8 passenger vehicles and two semi trucks.

It was kind of shocking to see, despite seeing it so often every year. One of the semi’s was just the cab and was upside down in the median of the interstate... and another car looks like it was rear-ended pretty hard before going off the road.