Tuesday, 9 January 2007

03-01-2006_03-31-2006

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Gah, 16 days without blog!


1That was a busy fortnight. I haven't made the pilgrimage to a Prawnheads lunch for almost a month now, they must think I've ceased existing... And it's all down to the excellent learning-filled environment where I now work, a bunch of new technology to learn, a Certain Database Product That shall Not be Named, (CDPTNN,) and a very good VPN product that did a mildly evil thing...

2I'll start by catching everyone up to date with things. I started work at This Small Company (TSC) which has one specific range of online product which is mostly run on a disparate bunch of database systems and several well known web server platforms, and the databases include a heavy dependence on CDPTNN. Which runs under both Microsoft's server OS's as well as under many *nix platforms.

3And as you all probably know, my ADSL was due to be reconnected Mon 13th but ended up being connected around the 15th, so blogging had to be done by taking the laptop to work on weekends or evenings and firing messages off from there. So it's been difficult but no excuse for the last ten days without messages so I apologise for that.

4Mainly, there's been a lot going on and I've even been working a lot of the weekends so I've had a very little precious time, and when I had it, I preferred to spend it with Trish and go do something we both liked such as going out for coffee or kicking tyres at real estate sales, or even just going out for a drive with no real aim in sight. We went a four hours drive outside of town to look at a property at Mukinbudin that could have been excellent value except that we decided that it was just wayyy too far out to be a serious weekender. Back to TSC....

Work:
5Thing is, they have had problems with CDPTNN since a version or two ago. Oh, not when it's running, it's very stable. But oh! - to get it installed! Okay so I cheated. I got a professional to come in and install CDPTNN on Red Hat Enterprise 4 for us. "Two days" quoth he, "maybe up to four." Ah-huh... So I installed CentOS. (By the way, if you wanted to run a 100% Red Hat equivalent server then go to http://www.centos.org/ and take a look, it's a good product.) The MFO (Man From Organisation) came and tried to install their product. "Incomaptible operating system" it said, and promptly bailed out. One weekend later I had the Real Red Hat on the machine and MFO tried to install it again. "Incompatible operating system"...

6Needless to say, the installation software was wrong. And that sort of set the tone for MFO's remaining visit. Which ended up being almost six working days...

7New technology? Yep that's the upside. At the same time I also learned to deal with arcane Solaris commands, installed several versions of VMware for testing, and set up that VPN product. I like Hamachi, it's what I give to my friends who want me to remotely fix stuff on their machines. The reason for that is that it works well, with almost zero knowledge needed. And I particularly liked that one could send instant messages over it. Made it easy to let my mate know what needed doing.

8Then they released their Version 1.0.0.... beta and suddenly I need a "premium account" for messaging to work. This is a pretty sneaky thing to do, really. So I've been busy putting my laptop, my workstation, and the friend's computer back to the earlier version.

Closer to Home:
9Now Trish and I are pondering selling this place and hitting the road in a caravan or camper. Went to the Caravan & Camping show last weekend and we were impressed with some of the vans on show there. Prices aren't as bad as we'd anticipated, and one range of vans in particular were VERY impressive, with an electric slide-out section that turned the kitche/living section into a space bigger than most flats boast.

10If we do this, we'd buy a small house and property out in the country as a home base, and then buy a second-hand van and go for a year or more holiday touring, well, pretty much wherever we want to. This has a certain amount of appeal to me, with my part Romany blood, to go and lead a Gypsy lifestyle for a few years before settling down.

11To add to this, Trish got redundandcy at her last job so we're not living as well what with a mortgage to pay off. And because we're both at the magic half-century it's getting harder and harder to find decent jobs. There's been a huge social change just in my lifetime, and Trish and I are right in it.

12Once upon a time kids were a renewable resource and people had them to spare - they were after all cheap labour. And elders were the ones that survived, so they automatically held a bit of status. Then, in the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, it got to be that children were valued more, and in return for that veneration, the elders in turn expected to be venerated (and in control) for a long time. Our education system is still rife with that paradigm, and so is our current social and political environment.

13But it's changing again. As the amount of knowledge and the rate at which we generate it increases, we're finding that what was referred to as the "Generation Gap" in the 60's and 70's is nothing, a mere wrinkle. And we're finding, as adults, that the children who in earlier generations would have been our students when we were older, will outstrip us in knowledge. The older generation is becoming irrelevant, the younger generation unimportant.

14Add to that, we've gone as a species from living on the land, to "owning" the land, and now to realising that no matter what you do and how much you pay for it, you'll never own any of it, not truly enough to pass it on to the next generation anyway - and you have the ingredients for another social shakedown, which is what's happening now. KIPPERS (Kids In Parent's Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings) are the new phenomenon, and the elder response to that has been the SKI (Spending Kids' Inheritance) generation Baby Boomers and GenXers.

15Trish and I are going to sit a delicate line between the two. House in the country = survival for the kids if things go badly, and camper = Trish and I get to do what we want for a few years and then still get to have a fixed home. One powerball...

16Sixteen paragraphs. One for every day I missed, hopefully this is penance enough for everyone.



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posted at 12:22 PM Ted Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
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Friday, March 10, 2006

Happy 10Khitday to TEdALOG!


Just realised that while I've been incommunicado, the hitcounter on the blog site has quietly crept past 10,000. A landmark for any blog, I guess.

Happy 10Khitday to me...



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posted at 10:37 AM Ted More Comments: (2) | Trackback (0)

Countdown to connection


Not bad - by Monday we should once again be a connected household. Can't say I've missed the connection much the last three weeks, but definitely it's been inconvenient from work, not to be able to retrieve stuff off my machine at home.

Trish is waiting for the connection so she can go hunting for houses, businesses, and part-time jobs online, and I've missed being able to check the TV guide in the evenings, but aside from that I've been reading a HUGE physics book on the laptop anyway so I've hardly noticed the absence of Internet - except when I want to cross-check anything in the book.

But at least things will be back to normal soon, yay.

The book? "Motion Mountain" by Christoph Schiller, what I have hold of is a pre-publication issue and as far as I'm concerned this book is a perfect example of making the commonsense impossible. Way too complicated for the layman, way too patronising for physicists and mathematicians, and full of good examples of bad writing which confuse the issues rather than clarify them. The problem is that there are such gems hidden among the pages that you just have to keep reading. A very frustrating book...



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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ramblin' Ted


A few things have happened. I've almost convinced Trish that we should sell up our little bundle of bricks in the suburbs and use the money for something constructive. She is attached to the idea that if you have a mortgage you are set for retirement, and despite her being a bookkeeper, I'm finding it hard to convince her that the bank won't foreclose the moment either of us retires and we're no longer able to meet the payments. It's a long term mortgage otherwie we wouldn't be able to afford it, 15 or 20 years, and both of us are due for retirement well before that time.

At the moment the place is worth a fair bit to us, and we could use that amount to move out to the country and outright buy a place. Own it. No bank. So we're looking for a deli/cafe/restaurant with a flat over to stay in Perth, buy our "country estate," and go out on weekends, work in town during the week. I'm wrapt. And once we have a place like that in Perth, bloggers are of course welcome. (Yes with Internet... No not with ISP #1... %)

Anyhooo cheerioo fer nooo as Mary McGregor would say.



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posted at 9:22 AM Ted Comment (0) | Trackback (0)

And then it stopped glowing...


http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=scienceNews&storyid=2006-03-07T100901Z_01_SIN308795_RTRUKOC_0_US-SINGAPORE.xml
You have to admire an idea like this - not only supremely pratical but a sure-fire repeat sales geneator as well.

So - I buy a plant that glows when it needs watering. What is it that I've just paid a lot of money for? A plant that glows... See, I bought it for the glow, that's the gimmick, that's the hook.

And when does this plant glow? When it needs watering. So in order to get what I perceive is the value attribute of this plant, I have to - stop watering it...

And buy another plant...



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BTW for anyone that cares, bad ISP #1 has offered to repay the dishonour fees which they cost me due to not being able to follow telephone instructions, but I'm afraid it's too late for them to keep me as a customer - this has dragged out to almost three weeks now, I've sent them one copy of the relevant bank statements and now I apparently have to send them again because they don't communicate too well amongst themselves and have lost the email with the statements in, and I've had it with them. For the price they charge, I prefer going to another ISP who charges ten bucks a month less, has a download limit almost three times higher, and who shape your bandwidth rather than charging an exorbitant overuse fee like ISP #1 did.. Please note the past tense of that statement. Bad people in your Customer Relations department is the death knell... .
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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Still not connected up at home


Oh wells. Here are the latest spooky happenings:

1. Weekend. Leon, whom I know online from BBS days, has a car accident and is in a critical condition. We know nothing about this at this stage, see item 4.

2. Tuesday. Trish and I go to Jo-Joe's for pizza, as a kind of trip down memory lane, we might have done this three times in the seven years we've been together. Tuesday afternoon, to be precise. Trish mentions that she's one up on me, because she's met Leon, who looks after the network at a place she worked for previously.

3. My sister picks up Dad's ashes and (in her usual irreverent way) goes to pick up her kids and then to pick up - yep, pizza - which for her is also a rare event. That's Wednesday.

4. Read OneDogSaid's latest article about Leon and wondered why such a lot of coincidences are seeming to cluster. For example, right on the day my father passed away I already felt something wrong, then an hour later I get the message. Going to the funeral, I saw, among the dozens of pictures around the display, about ten which I desperately wanted. My niece handed me copies of those exact photos - she'd had them scneed and copied days ago... On going home, I started an ebook I've been putting off for months now. Guess what, I read the reference to people losing 20g weight at the moment of death right there and then...

5. Thinking about building a bomb shelter in Antarctica. Or anywhere else that's safe from bloody coincidences...



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