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I was playing Mahjongg last night to relax and stretch my brain a little. ...and I found the default tile set included with Mandrake 7.1 is a little harder to grok than the set supplied with 7.0. I tried the alternate set and changed the background... That may work for the marathons Daniel and I get into some evenings, but I think I'll have to see if it's possible to import another set. This one is just too hard to differentiate to these gaigin eyes.

...and I was running "Enlightenment" as the GUI. I only mention that as it was the punch line for a back channel joke yesterday. ...an unappreciated one at that.

I keep forgetting to thank CalTrans and a local transportation bond measure from a few years back for putting a little money back in my pocket. I don't know that I'll ever break even, but a few years back we passed a sales tax increase to act as matching/seed funds for local road work. ...to include state highways. Well, another chunk of cross-town freeway opened up last month and it's cut both my time and mileage. What used to be a thirty-five minute, fifteen mile commute has become a twenty minute, twelve mile commute. That's easy math. ...not only on the gas mileage, but also on the pollution dumped into the air from the all of the cars no longer on the roadways for that extra time. Yeah, I know: electric cars would be better, but we're not quite there yet. Close, real close...

...and Mom's visit went well; thanks for asking. I threw some chicken breasts on the barbecue and they were very well received. I think Shelley is backing off on her objections to barbecued versus grilled food. Both she and my mother packed away enough chicken to remove any doubts I may have had. ...that, and she asked me to cook up some more when her dad is here next weekend for Daniel's birthday. Me? Cook for guests?

It must be okay...


Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.

I guess I'd better go with this one for a few... I worked in the business of saving lives for twenty years. I've seen many lost causes. Including those where we tried anyway and those where we just could not... I've been the one inside the burning building searching. ...and I've been the one outside, waiting for the searchers to bring me someone I could at least work on.

Sometimes you could go right in after the person. ...and sometimes you just had to wait for the equipment to arrive from what always seemed a great distance. It was never easy. "Easy" is doing something. ...at least you're active. "Hard" is the waiting. Sometimes until there is nothing left but the silence...

Al posted the Closing Prayer for Burial at Sea. It applies regardless of whether or not they raise the ship. I feel for the families. ...but I cannot help but pray for those who waited at the scene. ...and waited. ...and waited.

...for the silence.


Well, let's get this day on the road early; I have an appointment to get my tail shot off this evening...

He's baaacck; and stirring the cauldron in his inimitable fashion. Who? Why, the Warlock of course. That barbecuing, cat rescuing, Linux baiting, Redmond dodging, multi-booting refugee from the Peoples Democratic Republic of Berkeley, now retired to San Pablo where he spends his days drinking Ranier and tweaking his computers. ...and other peoples tails and sacred cows. Welcome back, JHR.

...and on that Linux note: Where am I going with that OS? Full speed ahead. Both the test boxes are spread across the bench, but that won't hold for long. Teaching started for me last weekend, classes start for the boys this next week. That usually means the evenings are geared more for inside work than outside play.

The one test bed is going to go back up as a firewall (with minimal components); the other will be rebuilt as a production machine; and a third bucket of parts will emerge as the new test bed machine (I'd like to play in SCSI land). ...and you may well ask, "What Production?" ...especially as that is one of the knocks on the Linux environment, the lack of Real Programs to do Real Work. ...an attitude that totally dismisses people like Brian who somehow manage to do a fair amount of credible and incredible work in that environment.

Guess what? I don't have that problem. I don't need anyone to port a word processing program to Linux; WordPerfect is already there. Oh, you forgot: WordPerfect is still hanging around in academic and legal circles. ...and it's not quite dead yet. ...and it still handles tables, merges and graphics better than Word. ...and all my work at the college has been done in WordPerfect over the years. ...and it's available for Linux. Heck, if you buy the Corel distro (the one with the head-bump install), they throw in at least their light version with each package.

Graphics? Hmmm, I'm no artist, but the Gimp can do screen captures well enough for me to only have to bug Brian with one question to put together a page a few months back. I imagine the learning curve will flatten a little with time.

Hmmm, other stuff... X-10? Done deal. (Oh, and the guy with the automated house just put up a new version of his software.) Database? Perl. Web? I don't mind Netscape.

What about Windows? I suspect Wolf will stay. I generally work in two environments now, Win95 and NT. As long as I can play with all my toys, I think the NT box can handle all the Win32 stuff I need for the office and that just doesn't exist for the *NIX platform as yet. Athena? I just know I'm going to be real tempted to turn her into a gaming box. Tempted, but that may be all. I just don't take the time to play games. Then again, Mech Warrior, Descent or Battleship across the network would let me take on the boys. Maybe if Bradley could borrow Shelley's machine???

Oh, the battle this evening: due to the vagaries of the school year, Daniel's birthday falls on the second day of school this time around. Poor kid... So we're throwing him a party at the local laser wars place a week early. It's in the evening and that means Bradley can go along. ...and play. Only they won't let six-year olds carry their own packs. So I'm going to be a pack mule. ...an armed pack mule. I explained to Shelley that if I'm going to be tethered to Brad, I'm at least going to be able to defend myself. I mean, which would you target? The four foot, forty pound target or the considerably larger one right along side?

I just hope he doesn't want to climb up too many ramps...


Well, Laser Quest was a hit with both the boys. Daniel and his friends knew the drill from experience with another birthday party, but Bradley and I were fresh meat. What the heck am I talking about? There's this place where you strap on a vest with targets on the front, back and shoulders and carry around a laser shooting at anything similarly attired. Get hit, and you lose power for five seconds. ...this through a maze lit up with black-lights, punctuated with strobe lights, surrounded by rock music, and enhanced with a light fog.

Man, oh man, did we have fun. The idea was for me to carry Bradley's pack, but it turned out he could handle the vest okay. So we teamed up in a clear violation of the rules. ...and went after people. For a while in each session I'd lead him along; but once he got his bearings, I'd let him take charge. That produced the worst parody of a SWAT operation I'd ever seen: "Dad, cover me; I'm going in." as he'd work his way up a ramp. "Okay, now left on three..." and we'd end up someplace else.

It actually worked out well for him; the other players would see my bulk and zero in on me. ...they wouldn't see the little guy. By the time they got me, he'd have them down for the five count. ...and off we'd go to another area or another level of the maze.

Another level? Oh, yes; there were the feared ramps I mentioned last night. ...up and down; down and up. ...with platforms. If you could hold the high ground, you could just blast anyone passing below you. One problem: a concerted attack would usually force you to retire.

Anarchy reigned; loose alliances would form and collapse within minutes as the fighting swirled from one area to another. During one session, there was a group of eight teenagers also playing. I found it quite interesting that our group of nine-year olds mixed it up rather well with them; the scores for the two groups were pretty evenly matched. ...and Brad and I did okay for newbies; we were usually at the head of the lower half. ...Brad slightly ahead of me. ...mostly due to accidentally shooting me in the back.

We came home happy, sweaty and tired. ...and ready to go back. Daniel had a real nice party between two of the sessions and Bradley found out that teaming up with Dad can work out all right.

He says he already knew that<g>...


1300 +/- Last night, I did something I rarely do: I went to bed on the same day I got up <g>. I usually manage to hold out until midnight or so before I realize I really could use my brain in functioning condition the next day, and how sleep qualifies as a Good Thing. ...and I crashed. Of course, I woke up my usually five and a half hours later. I do know the cure for that problem: turn over and go back to sleep. NP. Done.

Now what? Well, off to work and continue with the items on the order sheet that are time sensitive to the vendors. ...and I think the second round is finished. Likely just in time for round three...

...and what is happening out there in the virtual world? Well, there's an interesting discussion going on over in Userland about what constitutes Open Source. Dave Winer stirred it up in this overview, and the discussion itself is ongoing here. The discussion to date is a long one, so it's a bit of a read; but if you're interested in open source and why the GPL is not necessarily "open source", take a look.

...and that's all that's fit to print for the moment; there's bills to pay here and that process starts with the purchase orders I issue.

I wouldn't want the Finance Manager to get bored...


Short shrift this morning as I'd promised Shelley I'd clean up several piles of various artifacts that had worked their way out of the "study" over the last few months. ...and last night was the time for that project.

I always have the same plan: clean and empty until the dumpster is full (end of phase one); reorganize and shuffle until everything is back out of her way (end of phase two); and confirm the door will still close so as not to offend guests with delicate sensibilities (like my mother).

A typical Daynoter would simply enter the room, step over the pile of reading material, navigate the one-footed slide/turn to get past the stack of stuff in front of the workbench, and sit down and go to work. My mother, OTOH, during her visit last Sunday, did did lean against the wall and complain of feeling faint...

Shelley is a special case: she is spatial challenged. By that I mean (and she freely admits) if a puzzle contains more than about six pieces, she has one of the boys help her put it together. I counter-balance her quite well: I routinely find my way around places by just knowing what is likely to be located where. I just don't try to explain to her how I navigate around town or how I get to my chair<g>.

So the bench seat in the kitchen is now clear, the hallway is only covered with carpet, I found a few things I'll need in the coming weeks, and peace is momentarily restored until Sunday.

Sunday; the reason for the cleanup. Daniel's official birthday party. ...with Shelley's dad. ...and his wife. ...and Daniel's godmother. ...all over seventy and there simply must be a fear of them seeing a house with kid's toys on the floor or I'm missing something someplace. I mean, when Irv comes over, I offer him a beer and we talk computer stuff. (...except this weekend when I'm guessing we'll be discussing the merits of offset firebox smokers.) The ladies chat and watch the kids play. ...with toys on the floor. ...where they usually are. ...except when they're cleaned up for company. ...when they play on the floor with their toys.

I just don't get it...


Farquhar Lite!

Friday I received an email from Dave with the subject "I can't pass this up..."

Here's an item for you (since I refuse to make a premature comeback): Todd Rundgren just released a new album. Track #1 is called, get this, "I Hate My Frickin' ISP." Yes, it's about what it sounds like it's about. My friends, I have a new hero. It's about time someone said that.

Review here.

Samples (Real Audio or Windows Media) here.

Dave Farquhar
Author, Editor and Systems Analyst
Mail: dfarq@swbell.net
Web: www.access2k1.net/users/farquhar

Down but not out, that one's in the bull's-eye, Dave.

...and I'm off to be the wizard, the wonderful wizard of??? Let's see, today must be The Respiratory System. I just need to get one or two things across today. ...like breathing is a good thing. ...and the concept of ventilation. ...and what really constitutes an airway. The rest is just details. ...that I'll test them on next week.

The computer front is looking up. I found some of the components for the Linux test bed during the cleanup the other night. ...at least that's what they're for now. It worries me so when I find parts in bags... Obviously I've bought them for something, but often I have no idea what for. The Real World intrudes and the Project of the Moment fades into the mists of time.

Which would be a bad thing. ...except that I will soon be able to start putting things together again to see what I can see. I hit a mother lode strike on Friday: my wireless LAN experiment fizzled out from lack of time earlier this year; yesterday I found some clean documentation from some of those nice Klingon folk about how to make the things play nice in a cross platform environment. Turns out I may have been trying to make things work in an NT environment with bad setup information. ...seems there's a bindings issue that both vendors forgot to test properly on NT. The updates were posted this summer...

My goal is running the laptop on the network and only having to deal with a power cable while I work. ...no Cat5. ...no telco. A nice goal, I think. I figure I'll get it done and be able to sit out by the pool and do Daynotes without the telephone wire.

...or the Cat5 strung up with the Christmas lights<g>!


Well, hello there. If you sent me mail, I think I'm caught up. So, if you don't have a response, I blew it; please feel free to send me a polite reminder. Mail sent to the office after 1600 last Friday will not be polled until Monday.

Mail? Me? At The Time Sink? Frankly it's a rarity outside of the Gang. I send the occasional piece of humor, the odd tidbit of information and the rare piece to add fuel to someone's fire, but I don't get too much incoming.

This week that changed for some reason. ...even a technical question or two. Hmmm, no problem; I'm quite happy to offer my opinion on any subject under the sun. ...or the Son<g>. But I leave most of that to the heavy hitters of the group. After all, we do have a rather distinguished and well-published bunch available for information exchange.

I like to think what I bring to the table is some weirdness. ...not, not like that. Okay; yes Brian, like that. But I have a rather eclectic outlook on life and a quite checkered past in the electronics and computer worlds that in retrospect can be seen as a bit of a "drunkard's walk." I pick up this piece of information 'here' and that bit 'there' and they stay with me. ...until 'this' question comes up or that 'other' bit of information flows in and we have synergy. ...or at least two synapses saying "Hello".

It makes for an interesting time. ...and it's frustrating as heck for those around me at times. Shelley says I'm a font of useless information. My boss likes it. He has a random information generator sitting right next door. All he has to do is stick his head in to get an opinion. ...or a simple "Nope; no idea." Friday paid off for him big time: I was leaving and wished him a "Happy Weekend" on my way out. His reply was less than cheery. Wasssup? Seems he just had a print job from Word blue screen out on him. No print; no file; no prior save. It's 1600 on a Friday; this is several pages of rework on a contract. ...hours gone. ...and hours ahead. It has to be done. NP; the Purchasing Dude is a Daynotes member... He was working in Word: there's a temporary file somewhere. That puppy wasn't closed out properly... It has to be there; let's find it. ...and copy the contents. ...'cause there's serious corruption somewhere. Five minutes. ...and he's home free. ...and I feel good about it all. So that's part of what this is all about. ...a little help now and then.

Thanks Gang...

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