Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Being sick still sucks...

I have been struck the last several months with a string of illnesses that all involve infections.  The latest caused an open sore right where my CPAP mask rests at night.  What should have been a simple ingrown hair turned into an ugly open would that caused much pain and precluded me from wearing my CPAP.  Lovely.  It also caused so much pain initially that I was prescribed Norco for the pain.  I have had multiple people comment how lucky I was that they gave me the medication.  I disagree.  I hate the feeling of being "high" on this medication.  It amazes me that people will seek this out, because I find it to be almost worse than the initial problem.  It also interferes with me getting work done, which is likely why I can't understand those who like being on the medication.  I can't drive so I am driven into work, and now that I am here I have problems concentrating on my work.  Seriously, how do people think that this is a great way to be all the time?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What is important in life...

Tonight I plan to make time to turn on the TV and watch an important event.  I am told that the president will be making his state of the union address, wherein he plans to speak broadly about his grand plans for the upcoming year.  I am told that he will be announcing his intentions to use executive orders to go around congress, likely waste billions of dollars setting up programs that will haunt us for decades and almost certainly destroy the freedoms granted by that pesky Constitution thing that keeps getting in his way.  It will likely be a grand speech, with the teleprompters all aglow, the Democrats ready to hold up their new Zippo's as if Freebird were playing and the Republicans ready to boo and hiss at every opportunity.  However, I will not be watching this spectacle.

You see, I have Sherlock on the DVR.  That is far more important to me.  Oh, and a couple of Inspector Lewis episodes as well.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Oops, that'll need more than a mop...

In the "New Lessons Learned" category, we add Transport For London and their contractors.  It appears that while working on new station upgrades, the contractor proceeded to fill an escalator void with fast setting concrete.  Unfortunately, it appears that the details were not checked, and there was a small, itty bitty hole that allowed a foot of concrete to flow into the control equipment room.  There are pictures and they are ugly, from an IT point of view.  I have worked on rewiring network rooms, and that was without a foot of wet concrete to deal with.  Looking at the picture, all of the equipment at the concrete level and below is toast, and the cabling at that level will also need to be replaced.  All that after the concrete is cleared.

It reminds me of an incident once where on of the electrical contractors at our company was working on clearing old cabling between buildings to lay all new cabling for new equipment.  After years of re-tasking, they could not stuff any more cable through the tubes and had to clear the dead cables.  It was late in the day and everyone wanted to go home.  The contractor was up an a ladder with the big shears and made a sizable cut.  He examined it for a moment and then came down the ladder fairly quickly.
"Whelp, time to go home!"
"Well cool," replied the in house electrician.  "So can we go over whats happening tomorrow before you leave?"
"Nope, gotta run, have an appointment to get to."
"Dave, you seem in a hurry all the sudden.  Did you cut something?"
"Nope, gotta run!"
30 seconds after he hit the door the IT department lost it.  He had cut all the fiber between the buildings instead of the old Cat5 cable next to it.  We spent hours running new fiber patches to get the network back up in the other building.  We had security guards, facilities staff and anyone willing to work overtime helping out.  And that was just the patch, not the actual fix.

I wish them luck on this one.  I see many hours of OT for many people to fix that mess.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The reality of everyday drones...

So in Norway, they had a fire in a horrible place to have a fire: a mostly wooden historical town, where the average age of the buildings can be measured in centuries.  Not a whole lot of buildings up to modern fire code.  The fire was fast an merciless, and for a while it was fought entirely by locals.  The fire service worked quickly to get a firefighting helicopter up to douse the flames.  However, they had a problem.  It appears that local news stations had secured drones to use for their news coverage and as fast as they could, they deployed them to get great coverage of the calamity.  This forced the fire service to keep the helicopter out of the area because it would not be good to add to the problem by crashing a helicopter into the middle of the fire because it didn't see the ActionNews3DroneCam while on is way to drop water.  Here we have the beginning of the unintended consequences of drones.  Its bad enough when there are multiple helicopters swarming a news story.  With the advent of cheap drones (compared to a chopper) and the media's driving need to get a better scoop than their competitors, I foresee problems like this to be bigger in the future than overreaching law enforcement, tho I do anticipate that the latter will still be a plague upon our lives at some point.  While some complain that the FAA is moving too fast or slow on these things, I really what them to get the rules right.  Treating them more like aircraft and less like model airplanes is a good start.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Did the other side even show up?

The new Egyptian constitution was voted on, the second time in 2 years.  Last time around, those opposed to an Islamic centered framework complained loudly and protested by boycotting the election.  This guaranteed that the Islamist would win and put their preferred document in place.  Two years and one military led coup later, we see another election and this time, the Islamist are complaining loudly and have boycotted the polls.  Shockingly, they lost.  And they lost by a landslide that honestly beggars the imagination.  Over 20 million voted this time, as opposed to 16+ million last time, and this time there was only 1.9% voting no, as opposed to 36% last time.  Last time there were far more voting "No", with roughly 4 million less votes.  I would say that the claims that there was a "mandate from the people" were far less accurate last time compared to this one.

That being said, part of the right in a democracy is the right to participate by voting.  I view it as a responsibility as a citizen  of this country.  I believe that all who live in country that has this right should view it as a responsibility.  The fact that my vote in the area that I live will not generally be on the winning side due to my beliefs has nothing to do with it.  If you do not participate, you have no right to complain about the outcome.  I believed that two years ago those who protested by boycotting the vote were getting the government and framework that they deserved.  I also believe the same now.  If the Islamist's are so certain that they are right and that their view is that of the majority, they should have encouraged everyone to vote.  They decided to boycott, so they lose, without even a significant minority vote to point at as proof of their claims.  If you don't participate, you can't win.  Personally, based on the last constitution, I'm glad they boycotted, but that's just my personal opinion.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Reading can be a joy...

Long, long ago I read a series of three books by Elizabeth Moon that was combined into a single volume called "The Deed of Paksenarrion".  Its set in a fantasy world, but written from the viewpoint of a sheep farmers daughter.  I both loved and hated it.  I have always had issue with leaders in organized religions and the "wisdom" that I personally feel is normally arrogance, and in the second book of the series she hit that button square.  I feel that this is the sign of a great author.  I cared deeply for the character and was incensed by how the character was treated.  Brilliant.  I hadn't read the series in about 20 years when I pulled the book off the shelf several years ago and started re-reading.  I got to that section and once again was so affronted by the behavior of the religious leaders that I actually had to stop reading.  This was a first.

I have also slowly gotten into using my Nook more and more.  I personally like the feel of a book in my hand as opposed to an e-reader, but I have warmed up to the Nook.  I like having the ability to take a collection of books with me without using the large amount of space those books occupy.  When I first got my Nook, I found that I that Paksenarrion was not available, much to my disappointment.  However, recently I found that this had changed.  All three books and the omnibus edition were now all available.  I also found that in the interim, Elizabeth Moon had decided to start writing new books in that world, such that I now had four new books to read.  This coincided with a gift certificate for B&N, which means that I get to read all four as fast as I want.  Which has been faster than I expected.  In about a week, I have gone through three books and am on the fourth.  And the fifth is not due out until the end of May.  I have actively slowed down my reading to intentionally not finish the last book too quickly, but that won't last.  I must give the author credit that she has me so interested in her characters.  I can't wait until she releases the next one.

Luckily, however, I have another Larry Correia MHI book waiting in the wings.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Ah, the news...

I brought up CNN, mainly to make sure no major wars were started while I was at lunch.  Looking at the page, I am not sure which is worse: The fact that the top story portrayed was confirmation that Paul Walker was going really fast when his car crashed, or that many people (starting with the press) have apparently forgotten that it is supposed to snow in significant parts of North America during the month of January.

Starting the new year off right...

January 1

Unexpected good news at 8am, my return trip has unexpectedly been bumped up to first class tickets on both flights.  TSA was again very helpful, polite and courteous.  I still have little use for many of their procedures and policies, but I will give them credit on the customer service aspects.  The flights were very good and I had a very enjoyable dinner out with my wife after arriving home.

January 2:

Anticipated bad news at 8am, I now have to do an expense report using one of the most user unfriendly systems known to man.  A report which will be ignored for two weeks by the finance department before they spend another two weeks questioning every line.  Then they will issue me the funds two weeks after my AMEX bill is due.

Not the worst start to a new year that I've ever had...