Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Codeine and getting the Tribe on Board

I haven't written in a while because I have been sick. What started out as a head cold made its way into my chest and by Sunday, I was a mess. So, Monday, I went to the doctor and he put me on codeine, Albuteral(sp?), and antibiotic. I went to work today (Tuesday) and took a dose of the codeine.

Heavy machinery? Forget that. I should not be allowed to operate the "Reply" button on a mailing list! What started out as a normal day quickly became a debate on global warming and human impact. My initial response brought a few agreeing replies and a lot of opposing views. My viewpoint is that humans have very little actual influence on things like global warming and the earth basically takes care of itself (hence ice ages, etc). As you can imagine, a LOT of people do hold that view, as many of my readers may not share that view. I will say that it was a very interesting discussion and it ended amiably enough... :-)



Some time ago, I contacted Hammerhead-Grafix about making bed stripes for my HEMI. After we talked back and forth a few times, he made some custom stripes for me. Yes, I mentioned these were supposed to be bed stripes (stripes that are placed vertically on the sides of the truck bed). Well, they came in about 25% bigger than I had expected. So, after taking a couple walks around the truck, inspiration struck (with some input from my son and Mom).

I had never placed anything remotely close to this size before, and there are a lot of flaws. But my Tyler put it all in perspective. When I mentioned the faults, he said, "You'll get over it." And, you know, he's right. I love my new hood stripe! Plus, I have an extra to boot. :-)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cooties!

No, I am not talking about my being sick, but it sure felt like cooites!

No, I am talking about Cootie Catchers... Remember that game you played when you were a kid? The one where you picked a color from a folded piece of paper, then the person holding the catcher would spell the color, all the while opening and closing the catcher for each letter. Then, you would pick a number. When the flap was lifted, you learn who your true love was, or what job you'd have, or what grade you'd get, or some kind of dare, or whatever the person had written under the flap...

Well, I made one for Emily today, and we played it for a while. I had written things like, "Kiss Mommy," "Jump up and down," "do somersaults," and other things. She loved it, and it brought back a lot of memories for me... :-)

(Here is a link to how to make them in case you have forgotten...)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Drive-by Shootings (not what you think)

I took several pictures the other day on my to and from work. Why? I dunno. Felt like it! Most of these were taken from the truck while it was moving.
From 9-25-08 Photos

From 9-25-08 Photos

From 9-25-08 Photos

From 9-25-08 Photos

From 9-25-08 Photos

From 9-25-08 Photos

From 9-25-08 Photos

From 9-25-08 Photos

From 9-25-08 Photos

Thursday, September 25, 2008

100 Years ago (1908)


We all have probably seen the email about "100 years ago, here is what people made and what things cost," but this one includes adjustments that compare those prices to what it would be in 2008. I think you may be surprised...

THE YEAR 1908

This will boggle your mind, I know it did mine!
The year is 1908.
One hundred years ago.
What a difference a century makes!
Here are some statistics for the Year 1908 :

************ ********* ********* ******

The average wage in 1908 was 22 cents per hour.
-- $5.11 in 2008 dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) method

The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year ..
-- $4,648.92 to $9,297.85 based on CPI
-- $19,939.02 to $39,878.05 based on the value of unskilled labor over time

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year,
-- $46,489.24 (CPI)

A dentist $2,500 per year,
-- $58,111.55 (CPI)

a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year,
-- $34,866.92 to $92,978.48 (CPI)

and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
-- $116,223.09 (CPI)

Sugar cost four cents a pound.
-- 93¢ a pound (CPI)

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
-- $3.25 a dozen (CPI)

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
-- $3.49 a pound (CPI)


Special Thanks to Timothy L. Taylor, Technology Coordinator, Marion School District, for his work on adding in the CPI calculations and "keeping it real..."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

All in a day's work...

Since I was off yesterday, I had several places I had to visit today for work. I decided that I would give you a glimpse of what one of days is like:

8:00a-8:15a - Checked my email, had to hunt down a binder that I needed to deliver to one of the schools I would visit today, grabbed a printer, copied Adobe Reader 8 to a flash drive, downloaded and copied an Adobe 8 patch for the SEAS early childhood (ECH) software we use (I say 'we' but really, it's the early childhood teachers)

8:15a-9:00a - Drove to the Hope ECH classroom and installed Reader 8 and the patch. I had to wait around for the teacher because she had gone to the co-op. I don't know how our vehicles did not cross paths. The teacher got back to the classroom just as I was leaving.

9:03a - Left the Hope ECH classroom, heading toward Lewisville, AR. As I came up to the first intersection, there were a bunch of guys painting new lines on the road (turn lanes and such). I pissed them off because I went around them and ended up driving over their newly painter road. Oh well.

9:25a-10:20a - Lewisville, AR. The ECH classroom in Lewisville was having a screen problem on the computers for the kids. Turns out the computers had been set up with flat-screen, high-resolution monitors, but then were hooked up to crt monitors (old style) that did not support the high resolution. I'll post the resolution fix at the end of this post. It comes in handy when you CAN'T SEE what's on the screen! Once the screen resolutions were both fixed, I moved on to the teacher's computer.

Each of the ECH teachers received a "Logitech ChatCam for Skype" which looks like a little blue and white eyeball. I installed the software, then downloaded and installed Skype. While downloading Skype, I logged into the co-op's web site to check on outstanding work orders. There were a couple new ones, so I addressed those and finished up. One of them said that the ECH classroom in Fouke was messed up, however earlier this morning, I was told that the problem was in Bradley. I called the ECH Coordinator, and after some discussion, she confirmed that the problem was in Bradley.

In Lewisville, there is a corner shop that sells sandwiches and such, called "Burge's." Parked at Burge's was this:



Yeah, it's a Vette, baby! Now, that's what I call a tax write-off!

After I took the pictures, I headed down the road to Bradley, AR. Their ECH classroom was having problems with the SmartBoard. They could not get it to come on.

10:45a-11:22a - Bradley, AR. I arrived at 10:45a to find the SmartBoard completely turned off. Usually the power LED on the board is orange when not in use, but this one was dark. It was a power problem. I just had to figure out WHAT power problem. I tried simply moving the power plug to different outlets, but that did not cure things. After trying a few other things, I went to the truck, grabbed an extension cord and a spare power cable. I hooked those up, and the board came to life (technically, the projector came to life)! Okay, so the problem was definitely the power cord from the projector to the outlet. I ultimately 'adjusted' the prongs on the original power cable and plugged it in. Tah-Dah! Problem solved.

As I was leaving, two children had gotten into a fight. They were brothers. After a good talking to, the teacher asked one of the boys, "Can you go outside without fighting?" The boy answered, "No." Then, he started heading for the door. As I walked out the door, I heard the teacher behind me explaining to the boy how he needed to pay attention to the QUESTION being asked.... LOL, gotta love kids!

I headed for my next stop - Fouke, AR.

11:40a - The road between Bradley and Fouke is all two-lane backroads until you get to HWY 549. At that point, one can either get on the four-lane bypass (549) or stay on HWY71, which is two-lane. I opted to stay on the two-lane road since I wasn't really in a hurry. It turned out to be worth the leisurely drive. The old-times in front of me was doing a perfectly legal 55mph and it gave me time to look around. The leaves on the trees were beautiful, just starting to lose their green as they turned to yellow and orange. So, I took the drive to Fouke. Yes, the same Fouke that's been all over the news because of Tony Alamo. On the way into town, I saw a VW bug that was decorated like Herbie the Love Bug at a convenience store. I figured I would run past there again after I was done at the school.

11:51a-12:15p - Fouke, AR. Removed a Konica-Minolta laser printer that was a piece of junk. In its place, I installed the HP laser printer that I put in my truck this morning. The teacher also wanted me to disable the "sleep" function on her computer, so I took care of that. We had a brief discussion about her "FrontRow" wireless audio system and where to put it in the classroom.

The "Love Bug" was gone, so I pointed my truck toward my next destination: Genoa, AR. On my way out of Fouke, though, I stopped on the side of the road and snapped a quick picture of the Alamo church:


12:30p - I turned onto HWY237 and amazingly, the Herbie Love Bug car pulled out from a side-street onto the road in front of me!! How cool is that!?


12:38p - Genoa, AR. I parked my truck and took the binder into the principal. He was out of the office, so I left it with the secretary. Three minutes after I had pulled into the school, I was heading out again.

12:43p-1:55p - Headed back to the office. I decided to swing past the closest Mickey-D's for some lunch, and as I did, there were several large planes making passes over the Texarkana airport:


I grabbed lunch, and drove down the road. Since there was a lot of time to kill, my mind wandered a bit.

Here is one random thought: I wonder if anyone is doing any kind of research into connecting fiber optics or some kind of wiring that would allow people to take pictures of what they see with their eyes. I mean, maybe there would be some kind of connectors or something in glasses maybe, attached to wires like headphones that would record the images. Not necessarily video, although that would be cool, but still pictures. That way, you wouldn't have to necessarily stop to get a photo of something you wanted.

Another random thought: When Shan's Grandmother was alive, every time we would cross over the Red River, she would make a comment about the river's height. She would say, "Oh, the river's down today," or "the river is up again." I don't really know the significance of that, but now every time I cross over the river, I look to see if the river is low or high. Funny how little things like that stick with you...

1:55 - Returned to office. Checked/answered email.

2:00 - Checked in-house voicemail and answered more email

2:15 - Checked RSS feeds and answered SharePoint questions in online forums

2:20 - Checked snail mail

2:30-2:40 - edited 'road-trip' pictures

2:40-2:45 - Troubleshooting user's mouse. It's wireless and she replaced the battery. I had to show her and another co-worker how to press the 'connect' button on the usb 'puck' and the mouse to get things synchronized.

2:45-3:00 - discuss usb-powered microscope probe with science specialist

3:00-3:10 - skim through trade magazines

Around 3:10 or so, I went to the men's room. I don't tell you that so that you know whether or not I take restroom breaks, but rather because sometimes I surprise myself. As I went into the restroom, I vaguely recalled John saying something about "bubbles coming up from the commode when (he) flushed it." So, before I attempted anything, I flushed. Sure enough, the water rose and did not fall back again as any normal toilet would. I walked out, after making sure the water did not keep rising, asked the clerk to get a plumber in there, and then left to use the other men's room. Normally, I wouldn't think twice about using the facilities, but when that thought popped in my head, I knew I had better make sure before the whole was blamed on me...

3:30-4:00 - Did whatever to kill off half an hour - checked e-mail, played around with different aspects of the company web sites, read through the trade magazines some more.

So, there you have it. One of my typically untypical days! Thanks for riding along.


Screen Resolution Fix By Keyboard Commands: So, you can't see what's on the screen because your Windows XP is set for a resolution higher than the attached monitor? Well, hopefully these commands will help you fix that:

Move the mouse to a position you THINK is on the desktop.
Right-click the mouse.
Press the UP ARROW on your keyboard ONE TIME.
Press ENTER.
Hold SHIFT and tap the TAB key ONE TIME.
Press the RIGHT ARROW on your keyboard ONE TIME and wait for two seconds.
Press the RIGHT ARROW on your keyboard again ONE TIME and wait for two seconds.
Press the RIGHT ARROW on your keyboard a third time ONE TIME and wait for two seconds.
Press the RIGHT ARROW on your keyboard ONE LAST TIME and wait for two seconds.
Press the TAB key ONE TIME.
Press the LEFT ARROW key at least SIX to EIGHT times.
Press ENTER.
Your desktop should now appear.
If you are asked to "Keep These Settings" be sure to CLICK "YES!"

That should do it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Catching Rainbows

I stayed home with Emily today because she had been throwing up the night before. She bounced back pretty quickly, but we thought it best to keep her home to be sure she didn't spread it around to the other kids at school (she got it from a party on Saturday).

While making breakfast, the sun was shining in the window, and Emily spent the time catching rainbows....

Monday, September 22, 2008

Customer Service and resistance to change


At work, I manage more than half a dozen SharePoint sites and the users that have to access those sites. Over the course of the last year or so, the number of users has increased 200-300%! That's not too bad, but trying to deal with phone calls about lost and forgotten passwords was eating my lunch.

A couple weeks ago, i convinced my boss to let me look into buying software for the SharePoint sites that would let the USERS handle their password problems. Specifically, I wanted folks to be able to change their password if they didn't like the one they had (I had to make them up, so there is no telling what they are!) and/or be able to reset their password should they forget it altogether. Another 'bonus' was the ability to add new users through the web interface instead of either using a VPN to connect or being on-site physically.

BambooSolutions came through like a champ! VERY cost-effective solution that gave us exactly what we needed without giving us more than we would ever use. Now, of course, the users have to actually USE it... :-)

In addition to the password reset/change feature, John and I also decided to give a new coat of paint to the company web page. A few hours later, I received a seething message from the boss about the new colors.

At the office today, we had a discussion about the incident. Though she said she was "just kidding," her comment to me was that she obviously needed to cut our time in half since we had plenty of time to change the colors on the web page. I told her it took about 10 minutes tops. I also changed the color scheme to something in the 'light gray' range instead of the black we first changed it to.

How bad is a work environment in which the micromanagement is such that the boss has time to criticize the technology department for keeping things updated and fresh on the company web page? Heck, it's not like we even moved anything around. We changed the colors.

The nature of the web has always been and (I hope!) will always be - CHANGE! Why do you think "Web 2.0" is so prolific? Web 2.0 is all about changing, flowing content - blogs updated daily or more often, wikis updated as soon as new information arrives, social networks that ebb and flow with the waves of millions of users. Leave something static and people will stop coming.

part of the reason we implemented SharePoint to begin with was because it can pull information from various sources inside and outside of the corporate web and display that information live. Instead, our company web page is just that - a web page that never seems to change.

The argument we fight everyday is this: "Well, if we change things, people won't know how to find things!" Once upon a time, that was very true. But, web users are much more savvy than in the early days. Plus, if they have a hard time finding things, and they tell us about it, then we can - GASP - change things around in order to help them find what they need!

Prime example - One of the sites I manage is the Arkansas K-12 Distance Learning Curriculum Portal (I know, the name alone warrants carpal tunnel syndrome). We set it up, and it worked. For most users. However, we started getting word that some directors and legislators could not find what they needed. Then, word was that some of the other content was hard to find if you did not know your way around SharePoint. This past Friday, a team of us sat down and hammered out a modified navigation structure. When we were done, I was amazed at how much easier it was to get to some of the information! Why hadn't we done that to begin with? because it made sense to us before. It just makes MORE sense now that things are in a better order.

Customer Service means changing things that need to be changed. It also means adding features that makes life easier for the customer AND the people behind the scenes. And, sometimes, it means a new coat of paint on the company portal.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

KICK THE BALL!


Your football team is down by nine points with less than a minute to go, it's fourth down and you have no time outs. Coach, what are you going to do? Wait, before you decide, EVERYONE IN AMERICA has an idea.... KICK A FIELD GOAL!

Oh, wait, no? You'd rather try throwing the ball? What are you on??

Note to all future coaches out here: TAKE THE POINTS! If you can get easy points and prolong the game, THAT'S what you do! Sure, there is no guarantee that the onside kick would have been successful, but at least you don't look like an IDIOT!

...or you could blow it....

Saying goodbye to a friend I never knew

The original post resides on http://tribecards.blogspot.com/ but I wanted to share it with you here:


I have never seen you with my own eyes, but only in pictures. I watched you on television and heard of your exploits on the radio. You were born of greatness and helped others live out their hopes and dreams - to help them achieve their own greatness. You held up a nation during the darkest hours, and withstood years of triumph and turmoil.

You've seen singers, performers, religious leaders, and other celebrities. But, your heart and soul was born of baseball. You've seen perfect games and series championships. You were there during incredible victories and heart-wrenching defeats.

Though I have never laid my eyes upon you in person, I grew up getting to know you through the stories passed along by those who knew you well. I have never seen the arches along the top of your crown, nor the monuments that have a special place inside your walls. I will never know the feel of the seats, the smell of the grass, or the sound of Bob Sheppard's voice over the loudspeakers.

But through all my years of watching and listening and learning, I have come to know you as best I could from a distance. You will be missed greatly as those who are sworn to uphold and protect you bring a new era to the place where you stand. You are an old friend that I never knew. You will not be forgotten. You will live always in the hearts and souls of baseball fans forever.

Goodbye, Yankee Stadium, my friend.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dora the Explorer Animal Adventures fix

I was sure I had posted this fix on here before, but I couldn't find it, so here it is:

I now have a probable fix for the Dora Animal Adventures SecuROM
problems.
Please download this alternate EXE file:

http://www.securom.com/support/customers/stuntpuppy/Dora_Animal_adventure_t025_DRM/Dora_Animal_Adv.zip

(copy & paste the entire link into your web browser, some e-mail
programs
will break the link into 2 or more pieces which will prevent it from
working)

1. Unzip this file to your Desktop
2. Browse to the folder where you installed Dora Animal Adventures
(i.e.
C:\Program Files\Atari\Dora Animal Adventures)
3. Copy the unzipped file (Dora_Animal_Adv.exe) to the folder in step 2
4. When prompted to overwrite an old file, select "Yes".
5. Launch the game normally.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Emily Cheers Curley Wolves to Victory!!


Emily spent the week after school in mini-cheerleading camp! She had a great time, and the best part was that she got to cheer at the Prescott football game Friday night! Of course, we brought the camera along for the fun!



Here she is in one of her "poses" before the game!



Everyone has to spread out and make sure they have plenty of room to cheer!



Emily and Sarah hanging out during the game.



KATV Channel 7 flew their helicopter in tonight for "FridayNight Flights!" This is their cameraman getting some in-game footage.



Shan took this picture - White-Maroon-White! GO WOLVES!!



I always put up pictures of Shan, so when she snapped this one of Greg (left) and me, I thought I had better post it. :-)



The Channel 7 cameraman and the reporter getting more action on tape!



A shotgun play for the Wolves!



There is no tellin' what these two are up to!



TOUCHDOWN CURLEY WOLVES!



Here's Jessica having a great time as a member of the band equipment squad!


The Curley Wolves went on to win the game 49 to 28 over the Hope Bobcats! WAHOO!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sometimes, I like being the bad guy...

The mail filter we use at work has some very cool features. One of those features is "Offensive Language" checks. There is a list of offensive words and phrases and if we get mail that has those words, the system puts the message in a holding area for review. I then get an alert that the message has been held up. Here's where the 'bad guy' stuff comes in...

The system is set up to send an alert to the person who was supposed to receive the message as well. So, let's say the secretary's friend sent her a message that our system blocked. Not only would I get a message, but our secretary would get one too, letting her know that her friend tried to send a message with offensive language and we blocked it. The REALLY bad guy part comes next. After poking around, I realized that I could also send a message to the SENDER as well! So, now, the secretary's friend gets a message, letting her know that the message was blocked because of the language! MWUAH-HAHA!

Poking around further, I was able to set similar settings for messages that our employees try to send out or try to send to each other.

I'm all for fun and games, and if you've read even a few of the posts on here, you know that I spend some time at work "researching and experimenting." But, in this case, there is no reason that adult-oriented emails should cross our borders at a K-12 EDUCATIONAL facility... Or maybe I'm just the bad guy....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Well, sign me up!

Evidently, I signed up for the National Corvette Museum's email ist. In today's mail, I had this:

There is only one day left to purchase tickets on the "Build Your Own" Z06 raffle! Only 193 tickets are left and time is running out to get in on this exciting raffle limited to only 500 tickets. For $500 you could win a 2009 Z06 with an MSRP of over $80,000!


Our winner will be drawn at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, September 18. Following the drawing, the winner will be contacted and the order for their Corvette will be placed. Find out more about how you can win and build your own Corvette and take a chance at: http://www.corvettemuseum.com/raffle/index.shtml or call us at: (800) 53-VETTE.

$500 per chance, huh? I can see why there are still nearly 200 tickets left! And, do you know what the TAXES on that puppy would be!? Ouch.

All in a day's work...


My boss is a Razorback fan through and through. She has been asking about getting a 'skin' for her EeePC, but the folks at skinit.com had not added the mini to their line up. Well, that has changed! So, I sent my boss an email, letting her know that she could get a skin for her mini now, and I created the 'sample' above in case she wanted to know what hers would look like sporting a hog on it. :-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Trading across the pond...

I don't usually post baseball card-related items over here because, well, most of the people that I know who read this blog do not generally venture over to the baseball card side of my life. That's not a complaint, just a fact of life.

There are, however, those times when that world and my 'popped-in-my-head' world meet, or collide, whichever...

I recently sent a box of various Red Sox-related baseball items 'across the pond' to the UK for a trade. So far as I can remember, this is my first trans-atlantic card trade! Today, I had a package in the mail from the UK! Inside were several packs of cards and a stack of Indians cards! Some of the packs were 1995 Phil Rizzuto (yes, THAT Phil Ruzzuto) set cards of his National Pasttime collection. Each pack features several historic pictures of players, ads, knick-knacks, and old stadiums. One of the cards in a pack was FORBES (frickin) FIELD!


I recognized the picture before I even turned the card over. Man, my Dad would think this was a "super kewl" (as he would write!). This one goes into my "special cards" folder for sure! That's the folder that has my kids' little league cards, the card I made of Dad when he passed away, and other personal treasures...

You can call it faith, superstition, whatever, but for me, it's the little things like that which let me know Dad is watching...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Impatience, Facebook, whatever else

I got to work this morning and had to start up the servers that I had shut down over the weekend. The way things work, I am supposed to boot the main server first, wait for it to load up, then boot the other servers. Well, in my zeal to get things back in operation this morning, I did not wait.

Let me tell you, Windows Server running DHCP, DNS, and Exchange is not a happy camper without the main Domain Controller being booted up first! Learn from my mistake, young networking padawans: Exercise patience, stress will you avoid.


I have really been enjoying playing around on Facebook. I've found some friends from college that I had lost touch with, and became friends with some folks that I know from media/entertainment. One such friend is Hannah Blaylock, formerly of Eden's Edge! They're the group we all went to see last year. Another is Taylor Mali, who is a great slam poet, public speaker. I also found some Indians players that I've connected to, which is VERY cool!!




Sunday, September 14, 2008

Smart Boards, Shan's birthday, getting hacked, IKE, and who knows what else!


Howdy folks! It's been a few days since I last updated, and appreciate you coming around to see just what the heck I've been up to! Grab a seat, pop some popcorn, dump in the Milk Duds, and let's get going!


Thursday, September 11, started off like most days at work. Well, no, not really. The original plan was for the Early Childhood Coordinator and me to visit 4 of 6 sites to help the guys from Video Reality install new Smart Boards in the early childhood classrooms. We had a plan, see? Yeah, a real good one, too, see? Yeah, we would kill two birds with one stone, see? While the installers were working, Karen and I would set up new(er) computers for the kiddos to use. We would do about half the classrooms on Thursday and the rest on Friday. We were foiled, see? Framed, set up, bamboozled, derailed, see?


What actually happened was that Video Reality sent TWO installers in TWO trucks, so they could divide and conquer. That was great for them, but we only have ONE Co-op van to take the computers in... So, that all fell apart. Karen went with one guy (Rob) and I went with Shane. Each install takes about 45-60 minutes. The first place Shane and I went was not too bad... Oh, except the schools had no idea we were coming and the teachers had not been told how big the boards are (about 54 inches diagonal) or that we would come in and take over one of their walls. It was not a happy time for some of the teachers. The first install went okay, though we had to do some minor ... umm.. well, destruction is a strong word, but let's say... renovation.. to the room.

The next install went fine, though the teacher was not happy that she had just finished decorating the very wall we were going to have to install the Smart Board on. ouch! The glitch came next. See, while we were at the second site, the installer had a separate work order to hang a projector from the ceiling in a business lab. Normally, this takes about 30 minutes. While he was doing that, I was told that the school's network had gone haywire and that most of the folks could not get online, and those that could were receiving "IP conflict" errors. In English, it's like two people having the same phone number and the phones are ringing everywhere, but no one can answer because the phone system has no idea which phone is REALLY calling. On a data network, this type conflict is a HUGE headache. My job was to hunt down the problem.

I started in the server room, since that is where all the main connections come from. I had no problems in there. I worked my way out to various other places on campus - in closets, hallways, classrooms, trying to figure out where the problem was. After about an hour of troubleshooting, I had narrowed the problem down to the business lab - yes, where I had started out in the first place. At first, it seemed to be an errant printer. Sometimes, printers go 'wiggy' (technical term) and start broadcasting to the world. It's a lot like the printer yelling out, "Hey! I'm a printer! Anyone want to print something?? Hello!! Can you all hear me??" It generates a LOT of 'broadcast' traffic and bring a network to its knees.

I unplugged the hub where the printer was located and everything started working. Meanwhile, the installer is battling blown insulation from the 60's which he is convinced is asbestos (I wouldn't know, never saw the stuff). It is falling from the ceiling tiles into piles that look like (forgive me here) an exploded, very dirty poodle... While he is doing that, I' start looking at the printer and the hub, and the classroom teacher and I start tracing wires. We find one grey wire in particular that is plugged into the hub, and we trace it down, along the floor, up a partition, back toward the printer, and back...into.. the SAME hub! A network loop!

Have you ever heard really bad feedback at a concert or something, where the noise gets louder and louDER and loUDER and LOUDER!? Well, when you plug a network wire back into the network, you get the same effect. Only with data, it keeps going until it fills every possible bit of space. I unplugged the wire, plugged the hub back into the network, and life was good again. Evidently, someone had sen the 'loose, unplugged' end sitting there and decided it should be plugged in! Ooops!

So, my work is done. The installer, however, takes another 30 minutes or so to get through the mess he's battling to finish up his job. A 30-minute job takes nearly two hours. My Dad would be so proud!

The last install went without a hitch, and the teacher had actually already cleaned off the wall to get ready!


Friday, September 12 - Shan's birthday! At work, Karen and I got in the co-op van and headed out to the six sites we needed to hit in order to install the new(er) computers for the kiddos. We unload five computers and monitors at the first stop and start setting things up. One small problem. No power cords. Where are the power cords? Well, it seems that Karen had taken the van to one site on Thursday and dropped off the computers. She also accidentally dropped off the bag of power cords. So, I tell her that we will continue the installs and I will just come back on Monday to finish things up. It turns out Karen left the bag at Prescott, so the teacher just gave the bag to Shan... Happy Birthday, huh? The rest of the day was spent driving all over south Arkansas to drop off the computers...

I had ordered flowers and had them sent to Shan's school, and they are pretty! Prescott Flowers always does a nice job for me!

I had to run to Wal-Mart to grab a couple of 'last second' things for Shan's B-Day. Remember, this was Friday. The countdown to IKE's arrival had begun. People were going bananas. Gas was jumping while people were pumping it. I sat at a traffic light while I watched gas jump from $3.49 to $3.59 to $3.79... Crazy! And that wasn't even the worst of it. Stations were running out. The price was jumping to $5.00+ in some parts of the southern areas of the state. Stupid. The Attorney General got on the air and said price gouge checkers were en route around the state and stations would be fined heavily for gouging. No more warnings. If you were caught, you were busted.

Well, after I did my shopping, I headed down the interstate. I've been in bad storms before. But never have I been in one where the car in front of me literally disappeared. Tail lights...nothing...until the put their brakes on again. We all turned on flashers. Trucks were doing 45MPH, people were hydroplaning. It was nasty. After a very long trip, I was finally home.



Shan's Birthday - We had supper at Shan's Mom's house! It was VERY good and Shan opened her presents! She got nice clothes, TWO Mickey Mouse watches (they were different ones, but my mother and I will have to work on our communication.. LOL!), lotion, and more! The kids got her a heart-shaped locket that I had put their pictures in! Very nice! We hung out there for quite a while, talking and visiting, waiting for IKE to hit us.



IKE - The winds were blowing everything around, all over the place. It was getting dark, so it was hard to see, but you could hear it everywhere. The rain was blowing horizontally at times. The power kept going off and coming on. We finally lit candles at one point.



At some point, I had opened the door to look outside and hanging on to our glass storm door was a little frog. He was breathing VERY rapidly!


I remoted in to work and shut down all but one server. The one I couldn't shut down was the one I used to connect remotely. I am going to figure out how to shut that down remotely, There is a setting that is not enabled or something. I am also going to figure out how I can start those bad boys UP remotely, too. There is no reason why I shouldn't be able to have them come on again without having to drive to work to do it... I did not drive to work today. I can turn them on Monday, thank you.

We went to bed, and woke up to a mess. Limbs, leaves, debris all over the place. But we were all fine. Our prayers go out to those in Houston and the other areas that IKE ripped to shreds...


Getting hacked - At some point last weekend, I had set up our HP Media Vault for web-based photo sharing and file-sharing. At some point during the week, someone had hacked the server and locked me out. Or so they thought. I did a quick search online and reset the server to factory settings (which means it erased whatever hacks the people put in there) and I got things back in order. I also turned off the web sharing stuff for now. I'll play with that later.... The joys of technology...



My scratch-card tournament has made it down to the final two players in a championship match! It's been a lot of fun!!


Getting flashed - Oh, how could I forget to tell you about this?? Shan's brother and I were working on Shan's Dad's outdoor field camera. It's supposed to take pictures at your deer camp or whatever. Shan's Dad is using it to try and see if he still has wild hogs eating his deer corn. Okay, let me stop there a second to tell you that these wild hogs are not the guys from the movie. BUT, these things could serve as body doubles for several of them! These are HUGE! I'd say the biggest ones are roughly the size of a Yugo. Seriously. I have never seen a "pig" this big in my life! If it ran into your car, it would do serious damage. Even the 'babies' are the size of small-to-medium dogs. It's freaky, actually. But, I understand where the UofA gets it's mascot... Okay, so Casey and I are troubleshooting this outdoor camera. The big problem is that it does not flash in the dark. So, we take it out into the yard where it is now nice and dark. We push a few buttons, wait a minute or so, and nothing happens. We walk over to the camera, and BOOM!

have you ever been in bed, just sleeping away when suddenly someone turns on the light!? Yeah, you know how blinding that light is? Yeah, now magnify that about threefold. Ho-ly crap! I can't see a thing! Casey is laughing his butt off. He gets the unit, and once I regain sight, we try to figure out what triggered it. We set it up again. We wait. Nothing. I walk by. POW! Flashed again. Now, you would think after the third or fourth time, I would...oh, I don't know... QUIT LOOKING at the stupid thing! But, NOOOOO, every time, I am like the deer in the headlights...the moth to the flame... I just...can't...resist...POW!

After about an hour of this foolishness, we finally figure out that we've been telling Shan's Dad the wrong steps! We show him how to do it, and now it is in the field ready for action.... Or so I hope... I would just as soon ram my head against a wall as to be blinded by THAT thing again!


Two front teeth - Emily lost BOTH FRONT TEETH in the span of a week! Ain't she a cutie!?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Princess Brides, Super Colliders, and more


The Princess Bride Game is out! WAHOO! It's $19.99 but if you sign up for the newsletter you get 20% off! Now, THAT'S a six-finger discount! (Check it out here!)



There was a lot of discussion among the state tech folks regarding the super-collider starting up today. So, to celebrate, I found an online store that lets you make your own T-Shirts and I made one. I didn't order it or anything, just created it and save the picture... Come on, I'm not THAT geeky!


I honestly don't even remember how I came across this video... But, man that has gotta hurt:
(I don't know what is going on but you have to click the link to watch...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PsB8HuRLiA


And, since we're talking Princess Bride, here's a very cool video I found:

Again, click the link to see the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWXcDZNgOWs