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Ha! No workee today, duckee! ...at least nothing formal. Odds are decent that I'll have to run by the office to handle a restock issue either today or tomorrow, but that's the price of the position I'm in. For now, I'll just say, "Thanks, Boss" for a most welcome break from the holiday routine. Hey, could be we'll see him in the stands when they pan them today during the game. Then again, maybe he knew how many people would burn a vacation day to head up the road or to just watch the game on the tube. Either way, I'm most pleased with things.

We took down the tree and many of the decorations yesterday; today looks like the day for the cleanup of the balance of that act. I won't even worry about blading today as my part of the cleanup involves repeated trips up the ladder into the attic <g>...

...and if I get bored, there's a list a mile long of things I can do. But, hey; it's a day off... Maybe I should just relax a bit and watch the game...

I'll check in later...


Oh, yeah:

Happy New Year's!

Time to get my tail in gear and finish taking down the lights before the rain hits... For some reason, I started that project last night. Oh, yeah: it was so warm in the living room since the sun had been out most of the day that I was going to end up in shorts and a tank top instead of sweats. I figured I might as well take advantage of my adjustment to the outside temperature and start on the decorations. ...and then the eave lighting. ...and the flag. ...and then the trees. I gave up at the half way mark of the first tree: at 2000, it was just too dark to see what I was doing...

So today will be the balance of the lights, the infrastructure and the interior decorations. Shelley's almost done with her stuff, but she keeps finding little Christmas goodies everywhere she goes. ...and I'm tired of the attic trips.

...and it is a late start to the day; Daniel got to stay up for the first time ever. ...and then slept in until almost ten for the first time ever! Still, he wasn't impressed. I was. I usually end up watching a movie and drinking some champagne by myself (Bradley and Shelley both are long gone before 2200); this year I got to spend the evening in some good company enjoying some quiet time together.

Off to de-light the trees <g>

Remembering 09/11/01


...and it's back to work! ...and with a short work week. ...and a full week's worth of work to do! Ah, well; it was darned nice while it lasted. If it weren't for our summer getaway routine, I'd really be tempted to take the Christmas week off like several of the staff do. It was nice to be able to spell Shelley with the kids and nice to not have to jam through a to-do list and try to unwind. ...and yeah, I did end up going in on Monday to handle that restock, but that was expected and happened on my schedule for a change.

...and things are pretty much done from The Great Christmas Cleanup: the lights are all down (although at one point I was ready to send a 70kv jolt through one string and just melt it); the attic stuff is stuffed in the attic; and the partridge is back in his tree for a while. Heck, I even got some blading in. Whoohoo, nothing like 60F to make life easy. Then again, the rain cometh. ...as does the Costco run. ...in that rain.

Maybe I can catch a break on that...


...and it's a late post for late in the week. Perhaps there's some form of symmetry there. Then again, maybe it's just because I was busy on the alternate site and with some e-mail that needed a serious response. Yes, I can do that if the situation requires it...

Hey, guess who's back (Thanks to Dan the First for the heads-up)? Give Al's site a looong minute to load; it looks like he's on one of the slower UserLand servers. Welcome back!

Got a USB hub? No? Don't need one, huh? ...but you like to take the cable with you for whatever reason and it's such a pain to reach around the back of your machine to plug it in when you need that connection. ...almost worth buying that Compaq next time. No need; from the "Solutions in Search of a Problem" department, Antec brings you the Easy USB mount. With it you can mount a 3.5 inch device and two USB ports in a 5.25 inch drive bay. ...and it comes with the USB ports and thirty inches of internal cable. Not too shabby. School of hard knocks: mount it below your CD drives if there's any chance the cables will hang down in front of them <g>. Oh, the "Out of Stock" notice? Ignore that: all their stock is in the distributor's warehouses...

Yeah, I'm still playing with that test bed box...


Short week? Did I call this one a short week? Someone slap me. But we made it through with only minimal carry-over into next week. Whew...

John Dominik mentioned X-10 and their pop-under legacy last night and wondered if we have to support them to be able to home automate... In a word, "no". One of the more complete supply houses with a reasonable track record is SmartHome; I've used them for several years and they've done well enough to recommend them to you.

...and don't forget your local Radio Shack has a selection of the most common controllers and modules. What about X-10 themselves why link them when they'll show up unannounced soon enough <g>)? Well, they do have good prices on their camera lines and the 'starter kits' many people use for their intial work; but navigating the site is a nightmare of garish colors and overblown hype...

If you're into this type of thing, I have more X-10 links available over on Whitenoise. Just search for 'X-10'.

C-ya Saturday...


Also from the "Solutions in Search of a Problem" department, I received an email the other day just after I came home from work advising me:

Your Web Site is Not Responding

Imagine the horror... Heh. Except the site listed wasn't mine. Doh...

I took a closer look at the message and found it was addressed to me as the webmaster, but the insightful site cited for my sight (Yeah, I've been waiting a while to do that one <g>) was http:///www.sitenamedeleted/discuss. Hokay! Yeah, I'd posted to the guy's discussion group and they'd harvested my name. So I fired off a copy to the webmaster hoping he'd get a kick out of it and didn't think much about it. ...until I got another notice a little while later letting me know my site was back up. WT???

A little research showed that this was spam (not obfuscated; the headers reported correctly) from an outfit that wats to monitor my site and let me know when it's down... Ahem. You want to sell me services and you can't even figure out how to buy an accurate list? ...or troll something better than discussion groups (which may contain email addresses, but likely throwaways and certainly ones not linked to the site you're trolling). Arrgghhh. Don't even go there with me...

...and while you're at it, let's talk about this email notification thing: you're marketing to small businesses? The type that likely maintains their email on the same server as their web site? ...and you're notifying me by email that my site's down? Okay, let's just think about that one for a moment...... Time's up: I either know my server is down; ergo, my email is down and I know that also (...and you can't reach me to tell me my site is down). ...or I don't know my server is down and your email won't reach me anyway.

Okay, granted that's a subset of your customers, but it's the model used at my shop... Let's see... Yeah! You do offer pager notification. Cool. That would be handy. As a matter of fact, that's the system I used when I ran the non-MIS department: I had a machine on each leg of the three phase configured to notify me by pager if the power dropped out. ...all with stock APC and USR components. Three pages: power is down hard; one page: bad juju.

But what about a stuck server? Well, considering one or two people are running scripts to ping the outside world to monitor the status of their routers, I don't think it would take all that much to monitor site status. ...and then dial out and hit a pager string. Heck, even UserLand notified members of site status problems on an hourly basis. Nah, you need to tweak your targeting parameters a little bit better if you want to make a go of it. ...and yeah, those spiders also need a little more work on their algorithms...

Who, me? I'm off to blade for a few...


Nah, nothing much went on that's worth working up a piece on. I did manage some time on the test bed; I think I'll start the new week off with that.

I hope you had a good weekend!

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