February 5, 2003

Little Canadian Flag I was talking to Natalie today (our Canadian Blonde) and she informed me that SGL has become quite the sensation in the Toronto area. Apparently there are quite a few Canadians logging in to see what is going on here in Ithaca. There is, unfortunately, very little exciting news coming out of Ithaca today. The weather has been bad – the winds are hitting as high as 50 mph (80 kph for the Canadians) coming from the west off of Lake Erie and driving ice onto Western NY. Luckily we have only been hit with the wind but it is still bad. It is actually hard to sleep at night from all of the noise.

Loopy and I and John Stephens (who works with us from time to time) have managed to scrounge up an entire week of work next week out near Amsterdam, NY (that is in the Greater Albany area.) That is forty hours of work each on a decent sized PC Migration project (people are starting to know who we are apparently.) This is the biggest block of PC Tech work that we have come across so far. And the money is looking to be good as well, so we are really excited. Loopy has been getting down to the wire and is starting to think about non-IT positions to hold him until something IT related comes up. This will be enough money to let him hold off for 2-4 weeks at least. And John will be excited as well since he works at Lockheed-Martin in Owego where layoffs are coming down quickly and everyone’s jobs are short lived. We are going to have to get a hotel room in Amsterdam for four days because it is just too far to drive each day. It is just over three hours in each direction for Loopy and I and closer to four hours for John. So, Loopy and I will be away all next week. Nate and Bob are packing up and heading off to New York City for the week to go to a conference next week. They are staying with Ryan (whom many of you know from New Year’s pictures over the years.) So it is just going to be Dominica and Zach at home all week. Min will probably be able to finish playing Kingdom Hearts with so much time to herself. Min and I are planning on leaving for Annapolis on Friday. There is a party on Saturday that we are trying to make it to. We will have to be back early on Sunday, though, because I have to be up around 3:00 am to be able to hit the road in time to make it to that job out in Amsterdam (it is actually Rotterdam Junction.)

Loopy got tons done on his video game last night and today he is focussing on an update to the Waste Watcher web site. He originally did the work on that site back in April of 2000 so the site is looking a bit dated and it really needed touched up. We are hoping to start getting some business for doing web site design (I need no introduction as a web designer to those of you who read SGL everyday 🙂 Loopy has done web site design in the past for Niagara Telecom and Nicklin Associates with the Waste Watcher and for Lifestyle Properties with their homepage (which can be linked to from the button on the left.) My main sites include SGL and Ithaca Portal (also linked to from the left.) Loopy and I do very different types of web design. He is more of a designer and I focus on code compliance and client side technology. We are more of a team than independant designers. I got my start in code compliance working for Oil Navigator back in 2000. I became really interested in code compliance there and had an opportunity to learn a lot. (Update in June, 2006: The web site for Oil Navigator was finally taken down. Most likely the ownership of the domain expired.)

Eric was nice enough to forward me the funniest email that I have seen in a long time and it is already posted over in our Funnies section. Take a look at The Best Headlines of 2002 . I was laughing out load sitting at my desk while I was reading it. It is not often that that happens.

Min came home from work and she, Loopy and I went out to the State St. Diner for some food. We are all out of money but Min has a credit card and we all missed being able to go out to eat so we splurged. It tasted really good.

Since today seems to be the day of links in the dalies I am going to add one that is totally irrelevant to anything, whatsoever. My aunt sent me this link today and it is pretty dumb but it is still pretty cute. Go and see what the FBI is up to now. Like I said, it is a silly link but you will get a kick out of it. Also, for all of you vegetarians out there (I know that we have quite a few in our readership) – Min and I have discovered the most amazing meat substitute ever. It is called Mycoprotein and it has been popular in Europe for years but it has only just come to the states and you can now buy it at Wegmans (and other fine grocery store chains.) It is sold in the US under the brand name of Quorn and you can find it in the frozen health foods section. It is totally delicious. You must all try the chicken cutlets and the ground beef substitutes. It is really nice for use veggies to have something with protein without resorting to soy products all of the time. You can see all of their products on their web site.

Well, there might not have been very much news today but there sure is plenty to write about, isn’t there? Min put her name in for a drawing at work hoping to win a used computer. They apparently have a number of them that they are getting rid of and she might win one of them in a drawing. There are old PCs and Macintoshs available. Strange as it may sound, I think that a Mac would be more useful to us since we already have a large collection of PCs around the house (I have four on my desk right now!) I have never owned a semi-modern Macintosh and it would be interested to learn how to use it. It would be really cool if she got one that was new enough to be able to load OSX on it but I am sure that that will never happen. More than likely, I will be trying to make a dual-boot Mac OS 8 / PPC Linux machine out of it. Hopefully it will be a PowerPC machine and not an ancient Motorola 68K machine (can you believe some people still own those?)

I did more work on the new server today. Lots of work (you guys probably don’t believe that this much work can go into preparing a machine, do you?) Today I pulled the current operating system (SuSE Linux 8.0) off of it and installed the newest version (8.1.) This was my first real install of 8.1 so I had a lot of learning to do. Luckily, I have worked extensively with SuSE since 6.4 and know their products really well. Loopy and I started working with SuSE back in the days of IBM in Endicott in the winter of 2000/2001 when SGL was an infant website (lol, now we are considered ancient in the blog world.) Many a book on blogging has been written by a person with tons less experience at it than I have. How terrible is that. Anyway, the install took a long time but I have it completed and I am now redoing all of the work that I did earlier this week (this was intentional, those were all trial installs, these will be the real deal.) The machine inches its way towards deployment in DC. We will all be very excited when it finally goes up. There will be lots of announcements about it here! If anyone would like to try out SuSE 8.1 to see if it would be right for them, I have a Live CD Eval version of it that I would be happy to let anyone borrow. This CD boots just like it is doing the install but instead of installing, it runs right off of the CD. This allows you to see how easy the install would be and see how well it will run on your computer. You can also get a feel for how gorgeous the desktop environment of KDE really is compared to those silly Windows XP systems and how easy and fast it is to install. The Live Eval CD is a great idea. You can even use it as your regular system if you don’t feel like owning a hard drive! (No, I’m not kidding.) The Live CD has a great office suite built right onto it. I dropped the Live CD off with Nate so that he could try it out. I would like to get the opinions of some people who have never used Linux before on how they like this version, how easy it is to use and how it compares to OSes that they have used. We are planning on rolling out SuSE 8.1 in our DC office soon making it the standard for our entire company.

This is a random thought but I had it so here it is. Anyone who is serious about working long hours at a computer needs to have a workstation light that is easy on the eyes. I have two Eclipse workstation lights (commonly known as geek lights) that really making working at the computer a lot easier. You can take a look at them at Think Geek. I have the light in this picture on my main computer and the older style on my server that sits behind me. The entire wall behind my desk is lit by them and it is really awesome. They are so adjustable in useful ways. If you are looking for cheap ways to make your computer tons more enjoyable – 1.) Get yourself a Logitech Optical Mouse for under $20US at Walmart and B.) Get an Eclipse Workstation light. You will love working on your computer again and for only $50US total. (Yes, I am well aware that I said 1 and then B, it is an inside joke that our Llama of the Month had better get!)

I am still doing a lot of reading (and I am sure that I will be doing even more next week as I have four nights in a hotel with no money to spend in a boring little town.) I am hoping to have three or four books finished before the weekend. Min is reading “The Dilbert Principle” now and has joined Dogbert’s New Ruling Class (in case Dogbert succeedes in taking over the world she will not become a slave this way.)

Ok, I am not trying to go for a record for long updates here so I am going to go to bed and call it a night. Today’s update is almost 10KB and that is enough for anyone in one day.

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