January 11, 2005

I actually got out of bed around 4:30 this morning. That is awfully early for me. I went to bed just before midnight and with my weird sleep yesterday, I was up pretty early. I actually like working early in the morning, though, I should really do it more often. I like it because whenever I work during non-regular working hours, I always think of a million things that need to get taken care of – normally things that involve contacting someone – and if I think of those things at night, then it is a long time before I actually have a chance to do anything about them. It is also nice because Min is awake and at work when I get up early so I am able to talk to her if I need to. I really should start making an effort to be up at this time more often. Many of our clients work these hours and almost none of them work late. And my dad is normally up by 5:00 too. And Eric is normally at work fairly early. So I have a lot of communications that I can do if I am up early enough.

Min got us a free hotel room through work in Pittsburgh next week. We will be staying at the Marriott Courtyard in downtown Pittsburgh on Wednesday and Thursday nights. We might stay longer but we don’t know what the plans are going to be like yet. We can only get a maximum of two nights in any given hotel, so if we decide to stay longer than we need to move to a different hotel for Friday night. So we might not do it just because of the hassle. We have discovered, though, that we like staying at Courtyards and Fairfields more than regular Marriotts and Renaissances, even though they are normally far less expensive, because they include high speed Internet access and the more expensive hotels do not. And $10 per day for Internet access that you can barely use is ridiculous and if you are staying for only one night, you could easily end up paying $20 for Internet access for only an hour or two of checking your email.

I spent most of the early morning, that is, before Dominica got home, working on some SkillSoft training that I am doing as I work towards my MCDBA certification. The guy that I had a meeting with yesterday has his MCSE+I and MCDBA – he is the first person I have ever met with more Microsoft certifications than me, so I am really driven now to get it wrapped up. Then, at least, I will be on even footing.

Andy is getting pretty worried about staying at Wegmans. They have been talking about moving him from development to support which is just about his least favorite thing in the universe. They are also talking about getting him a pager, although he is pretty sure that they will come to their senses first, which will be a really big pain since he isn’t salaried. So, we will see how long he ends up actually staying at Wegmans. He was originally scheduled to shift to support next week but they have pushed it off until the week of the 24th, the same week that I am supposed to be returning to Wegmans to begin their in-store server migration project.

When Min got home this morning, the hamster got up and decided that he wanted to do something fun. So he came down to say hello and convinced us to open his cage. Then he ran over and climbed into his ball. He was very serious about running in his ball. Normally he walks around and kind of thinks about maybe getting into his ball. But this morning he ran straight for it and climbed right in – he was very determined. So Min went to bed and I let him run around the house like the crazy little rodent that he is.

I have a 10:30 meeting this morning with the Chamber of Commerce out here in Geneseo. They have a new office building that I have been wanting to see.

Niagara dropped our advertising in the Rochester Southern Area directory today. We have noticed, over the past year, that not a single company has contacted us through the directory but tons of people have called looking to get free service or advice from us. They never even ask us for help either, we answer the phone and they immediately say things like “My computer doesn’t work, has Microsoft said anything?” I don’t even know what that means. But I am sure that anyone who thinks that Microsoft calls us when their ESP tells them that someone’s computer is “not working” is not prepared to pay $45/hr to have a consultant come out to their “place of business” to help them out.

I called over to my ear, nose and throat doctor and they called over and kicked some butt, apparently, and the sleep center called me almost right away. They are coming over tomorrow afternoon with my CPAP machine. Boy am I looking forward to that. Hopefully tonight will be my last night of crappy sleep. And in time to go to Pittsburgh too. Eric might be going to Pittsburgh with us and he doesn’t sleep when I snore. But with the CPAP, I shouldn’t be snoring anymore. In theory, at least. I am sure that it will take a while to get used to. It will be really weird just sleeping again let alone not snoring or getting to sleep on my back!

My meeting with the Chamber of Commerce went really well. Their new offices are really nice. They have a conference room there that we are able to use pretty much whenever we need it. It is really nice and very large for a conference room in Livingston County. I had a good talk over there and I think that we were very productive.

After my morning meeting, I ran over to McDonald’s for some quick lunch. I got a call and ended up spending almost an hour standing outside of McDonalds freezing my hand off talking on my cell. The rest of the afternoon ended up being mostly me on the phone dealing with one thing or another. Mostly good stuff though. Nothing too bad.

Apple released their Mac Mini today. We have been “patiently” awaiting this release for weeks now, every since someone leaked the news that it was coming. Andy, John “The Surfing IT Wizard” Stephens and I have been really looking forward to this little machine. This is the first affordable Apple Macintosh computer ever made. They start at only $499 and are really practical computers – for Macs. They aren’t screaming fast (but what Macs are) but they are totally functional and very tiny and they use very little power. They are really designed to be second computers or primary computers for people with very minor needs. And they are perfect for that. They aren’t expandable but they are SO small – only 6.5″ x 6.5″ x 2″!! They are barely big enough to get a CD into. Apple’s online store is completely swamped with orders – you can barely get to the site at all. The machines are very attractive and I think that they are going to represent a real change in the way that Apple sees its customers. I think that tons of IT professionals and computer power users who have wanted to play with Macs but have been reluctant due to their ridiculous price ranges and childish “built in monitors” will finally give them a try. This isn’t to say that I think that many people will be impressed with the Mac operating system. I have used it and I think it is total crap. But I am sure that there are some really cool features that will be very interesting to learn about. And Mac OS X is worlds better than its predecessors at least. I still think that a faster PC for the same money is a better way to go for most people, but for those of us whose jobs it is to know all of the options and how to work with them, this represents a real opportunity. There are benefits to almost all systems – operating systems like databases are so complex that almost anything that makes it to market has at least some awesome feature that we can all learn from. I won’t mind using a Mac as long as it isn’t $3000. My biggest objection to the Mac family (although I DO completely hate their little kid interface) is their cost. People like to talk about how fast $2800 Macs are compared to $800 PCs. It’s true, for $2000 more, the Mac IS faster. But have you ever clocked a $2800 PC? Apple is proud of having a dual processor machine for that price. But the Windows world has had that since about 1994. And the Linux crowd regularly makes quad processor systems. For $2800, you had better EXPECT a Quad 64-bit system!

Phildo called (by the way, when I say Phildo I don’t mean the Phildo of Phildo.org or the Phildo of Phildo.com) and said that he was coming over to watch some Star Trek with Andy. Kate had to work late tonight or something and he was lonely so he decided to stop by. Min was still sleeping when he called so I had to go get her up. Suddenly she is in an Aunt Cookies mood (after a year of complaining that she doens’t like subs) and had me run downtown to pick some up. I am happy with the change of pace, though, because I LOVE their subs.

Min and I watched the next to last episode of A Fine Romance while we had dinner. Then everyone but me watched Star Trek. I had work that I had to do, plus I had to update SGL. But mostly, I just can’t handle watching that awful show. I liked it as a kid but recently I have realized that I don’t like it at all (even though I love the original movies!) I find that I simply cannot keep myself awake at all as long as it is on. Even the best episodes don’t do anything for me. So I avoid watching it.

Our new humidifier that we got about two months ago isn’t working anymore. It is leaking water all over the place. It just started last night. At one point, water was running out of the back of it. If I get a chance, I will have to look into it. I will probably have to take it apart to see how it works to see if I can fix it. I am not very good at that though.

There is new Strongbad Email on Home Star Runner today. Dreamail.

I finally got a chance to talk to John Nicklin tonight. I haven’t been able to get a hold of him in weeks. He has been really busy dealing with things in DC. He is picking up my AS/400 on Thursday. I am really excited to get it here (that could take a while longer.) How cool is it to have an AS/400? Okay, I guess that there is probably no one reading this that cares in the least. But let me tell you, it is really cool. It isn’t coming here, though. Everyone keeps asking me how we will get it into the basement. It is going over to the farm. We are going to be putting in a new floor and setting it up over there in the near future. I also have a DEC VAX that is going over there. That is really cool too but not in the same ballpark. Very little compares with an AS/400. A real mainframe would compare. An IBM S/390 would be cooler. That is next on my list. I already know where one is that might be available in a year or two 😉

Well, so far, we are well on our way to one of the busiest months ever on SGL. Busiest being defined as the most updates with the most content. This is day fifteen of continuous updates. It is nice to be back in form again. It is working well, at the moment, because I am working from home almost all of the time and I have access to the files that I need right on my desktop. But, since we internally use Desktop Assurance now from Niagara Telecom, in theory, I will have access to all of the files that I need even when I am out on the road which has always been what stopped me from doing updates before. Now I have instant access to everything that I need on just about any machine on which I might be working – even client computers of other companies. Isn’t that just nifty?

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