Friday, December 30, 2005

ms Oosterdam - Mexican Rivera

Here's somebody that had the foresight to take copious pictures of the ship so future cruisers can get to know the ship before they sail on her.

I wish I had thought to do this on her, and on a prior cruise....

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

16 years after the Montreal Massacre

Hmmm, I've been so distracted these past few months with personal things that I forgot that this date was coming....

It's been 16 years...has anything changed? Who still remembers?




What do I remember?

Sunday, November 20, 2005


The obsession continues....

This time I was prompted to research whether it would be feasible to fly back from wherever I might end up moving to, to still volunteer as a scorer with the Mathcounts competitions in Ohio.

Don't know when the county one is going to be, but I've heard that the state competition will be on March 11th, 2006.

While trying to see what information there is on the Mathcounts in other cities/states. I noticed that this year the national will be in Arlington, VA....only significant because just the other day I was doing a Google search for relatives, and found that a cousin lives there.... ;D

Though I haven't yet decided how it will be that I make contact with her again....all I have is conventional means of contact, sure would be nice if there were email addresses :o

Friday, November 18, 2005 - Change Online Shopping for Good

Hmmm, wonder if I'm getting ahead of myself again?

As part of my job hunt, I spend some time getting to know where I might be moving to. Because this time, ideally, I'd like to find a place where I can live, too.

But, sometimes I look at more than just that. Like once again, I found myself browsing to see what I might change my cause to should I move to another part of the country.

Like so far this year, I have $44.35 on record for donations. And, there's a few orders that are still outstanding...I'll probably be around $60 by year end.

I know there are sites that give you the cash....and I think I still belong to one or two. But, when I go to buy something online, this is one site that influences who I buy from....more than the ones that give cash or points.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Are You Infected by Sony-BMG's Rootkit?

There was once a significant gap in my CD buying, because of my first encounter with a copy-protected music CD.

It was a Natalie Imbruglia CD from BMG.

Oddly, it was another artist also under BMG that got me buying CDs again.

And, then when I got my CD buying reached a significant frenzy. Largely because old CDs I hadn't listened to in a long time, suddenly were being listened to...and that prompted me to search out more music by these artists...and buying those CDs.

But, looks like the record companies want us all to stop buying music.

The bad thing is it has been so long since I actually listened directly from a CD. These days I only take the CD out of its case once, and that is to get it on to my iPod. Once there the CD usually gets thrown aside, but someday I'll get the new shelf (or more) and get my collection under control again.

I have two shelves that are rated to hold 500 CDs each, and they are overflowing with CDs. Plus one fell over a while back, so I've been meaning to replace it for some time. Looking at something that'll hold at least 1500, but maybe that won't be enough by the time I get around to it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Counterfeit Maxtor Hard Drives Found Only in Japan, Company Says.

Wonder if somebody should tell Maxtor about my experience.

I had been looking at an eBay seller (located in California) selling Maxtor 7Y250P0's (OEM 7200RPM, 250GB, 8MB Cache drives). My favorite model drive for doing ReplayTV upgrades, because 6 of my upgraded units use these drives. The 7th still uses an original ReplayTV drive....came from a 5160, I've reimaged it about a year and half ago (and put it into a 5080).

On October 2nd, I took the plunge and ordered a pair of these drives. With the intention of replace all 3 drives in my Linux server with them (I have a real 7Y250P0 that I had gotten from the month before....)

Well, when those two drives arrived, I immediately tried to format to test again DOA....and while I seemed to start format...Maxtor's MaxBlast software crashed on the last step. And, Explorer indicated that the partition needed to be formatted. So, I had Explorer format the partition (slowly) go up to almost the end and then reported that it couldn't complete.

At one point I did get a format to complete, but later Windows reported that the partition was corrupt.

After some investigation, I noticed that the drive was coming back as a 6Y250P6.....

A google search found other reports of counterfeit drives, and when I put the drives from eBay next to the real 7Y250P0 that I had gotten from, it quickly became apparently that the drives from eBay were counterfeit.

I sent them back to the eBay seller, who said he would refund and take the matter up with his supplier.... I'm still waiting for the refund, but I'm not expecting a problem....I'm sure the seller didn't get to 4000+ feedback points if this was usual.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Firefox Extension: phpBB User Hide

This is one sweet extension....just the thing I was wishing for....

Columbus BlueJackets first regular season home game... against 'my' team...the Calgary Flames.

I had said that I would consider going to watching a live game when the Flames play here in Columbus.

Except for a number of problems. Getting laid off cut into my discretionary spending, so I don't yet own a Flames jersey.

And, catching a bug while flying out to a job interview last week...I don't really feel like going out.

I guess I'll just do TV coverage...except its only in SD, and its a channel that I've deleted from all my ReplayTVs....

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I gave blood today!

Can you believe that it has been 3 years and 5 months since the last time I gave blood?

I guess that's what happens when you move away from a 'remote' city in Canada, where donations happen when the blood mobile rolls in. To where living in Central Ohio, it becomes much more difficult to find out when and where there is a blood drive in walking distance from home or work....

The last time I gave blood, my chiropractor was hosting it... plus I was walking back from the BMV after doing a change of address on my state ID. Today, Allstate (3rd floor at work) was hosting one.

I remember the first time I gave blood....this girl named Terri asked if I would, and...well.... Somewhere from there I managed to get a 20 donation pin. Which was pretty good considering that I only gave a few more times before I moved away from Calgary, and in Medicine Hat...the blood mobile would only roll in 3 times a year. And, invariably I would be down with the flu or something when they came during the winter. It wasn't until the last couple of years, that they upped the frequency to 4 times a year.

Evidently, they track how much you've donated by the gallon in the US. Should be interesting to see how long before I reach one. Today is only my 3rd time so far.

Perhaps I should factor ease of making future blood donations in as another criteria on deciding where I should move to next.

The first time I gave blood in the US, Sears over at the Mall at Tuttle Crossing was hosting a drive. Actually sometimes the nearby Walmart hosts drives, but the last few times I made an appointment...they later tell me that the drive has been canceled. And, somewhere they stopped telling me of future drives in my walking area. Though once I found out later that a 'canceled' blood drive still happened.... there were a few other times where I didn't know until they were leaving that I found out....

Monday, August 29, 2005

Judge Orders Apple To Pay Up For Bad iPod Batteries

The settlement, which won tentative approval in June, gives buyers of the first two iPod models either $25 cash or $50 in credit at an Apple store that can be redeemed for any Apple-branded product, including iTunes downloads. Owners of the third-generation iPod are entitled to a free replacement battery if theirs fails.
This is kind of disappointing...

I had a 3rd Gen iPod....from October 2003 to August 2004....and I was hoping to get a $50 credit for it. Considering I (initially) replaced it with a 4th Gen iPod...which is now a year old.

Which kind of implies that it is probably suited for another upgrade, where $50 off of a new iPod would be nice. But, I don't really need a new battery for my old 3rd Gen iPod. Especially, since the would probably only offer an apple branded replacement (or 50% refund of an apple performed battery replacement). Ignoring that the aftermarket iPod battery is of higher capacity, etc. Plus they probably won't like the fact that I opened up my iPod myself (kind of roughly too....and stabbing myself, because I tried to pry it open using my pocket knife, probably complicates things for me....)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

iPowerWeb's Enhanced Account Access Requirements - Part Deux

Got an email this morning on this:

After receiving feedback from many of our customers, we have decided to discontinue the mandatory requirement to update your password.


We want to thank you for your feedback and can assure you that we are listening to you, our valued customer, in our continued efforts to consistently improve our services.

If this has caused you any inconvenience, we sincerely apologize.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

iPowerWeb's Enhanced Account Access Requirements

August 18, 2005
Enhanced Account Access Requirements

Attention vDeck users:

For your protection, we are enhancing your account access requirements. Starting today you will be periodically asked to change your password prior to accessing your vDeck Hosting Account. For added security, you will be asked to authenticate yourself prior to accepting the change. We strongly recommend that you choose a secure password - ie, one that does not sound like a word, and contains at least one non-alphanumeric character - eg., !@#$%^&*. Your new password may not be the same as your old one.

Well, I was in the middle of making some changes to my site, when FTP stopped working. I go to vDeck to see what it going on, and it wants me to change my password.

Only apparently, I'm not allowed to change my password, because I get a cryptic message about access denied to some passwd file...and included in the message is my old and new password along with my 'secret' identifier...all in clear text.

And, now neither my old or new password is working.

Do a live chat, and get a canned response that the developers are working on it....and that's about it. Alledgedly my old password will get me back in once they get things working again.

Meanwhile, I guess their idea of enhanced security is lock everybody out.

What is it about companies breaking production systems this month????

Update: It is working again, but it was messed up. Had to use my old password to FTP in, but it sent me to jail where a bunch of named files said I had to change my password. But, the vDeck login wanted my new password and required me to change it yet again.

Meanwhile, my blog ftp account was also messed up. The only way to get it working again was to remove it and add it back again.

Otherwise I seem to be in business again.....

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Warm Planet Fears

New Scientist News - Climate warning as Siberia melts

Another terrifying bit on the fears of global warming....

.... meanwhile, I've giving serious thought to the possibility of considering employment opportunities in even hotter areas of the US.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The power of other people's blogs....

As I continue the job hunt looking for a new opportunity, that will hopefully lead me to a placement where I can better balance life and work within the various constrainsts that are imposed on my life(style).

One of the ideas that has me intrigued is the whole downtown living (again). I kind of had downtown living when I was living/working in Medicine Hat. But, not so here in the greater Columbus, Ohio area...where I've and work just on the Dublin, Ohio city boundary. In fact I cross the boundary every day going (walking) to and from work. The office is just inside the Dublin boundary (most of the parking lot is in fact not) and my apartment is on the I'm considered in Columbus. Which is largely only an issue with figuring out which school district I'm in and which city I'm a resident of for taxation.

But, the life part of the mix hasn't been that great...and now that the work part isn't anymore....I'm leaning towards finding a new situation where both are good.

Last night I heard of an opportunity in downtown Memphis, TN. I admit this isn't probably the most idea opportunity....the weather is going to be even less like what I was accustom to in Calgary or Medicine Hat, Alberta. And, there are no direct flights from this city to Calgary or places where other family members reside. Though these aren't really major sticking points on what I was looking for. prelimary research of Memphis, TN....was a mixed bag....found it annoying that when I queried a yellowpages site (actually a couple) on what businesses are near the zipcode of downtown reported lots of hits. Which I later found out that it had set the zipcode field for all the businesses to match the zipcode I was looking for...and in reality most of the businesses weren't anywhere near fact some where in different cities that neighbor Memphis. This started to worry me that downtown Memphis might be worse that downtown Columbus....somewhere that is recently started to shift to increasing residential living, while the downtown mall is shrinking (in fact I hear the last remaining anchor [of 3] might be going away....perhaps because the chain was acquired by the company that owned one of the other anchors that closed its fixture of a downtown department store...because it didn't see the value of continuing to stay in downtown Columbus). Plus there are other factors why downtown Columbus living just isn't good at yet.

Then I came across this blog entry....though somewhat 'dated', it is quite an intriguing and detailed entry that has me intrigued with the whole possibility that this might be one of the opportunities to if only each of the apartments mentioned actually had websites.....

...or I could find other websites about life in downtown Memphis....I guess I'll thumb through the guy's blog to see if there's more....

Hopefully, I'm not getting too far ahead of myself again....

....though the uncertainity for the future is affecting whether I'll make the family reunion later this year. Which I hear might not be as grand as originally envisioned. Though is that because I might not be able to make it now?

Friday, July 29, 2005

iWon News: Congress Passes Far-Reaching Energy Bill

Inside is the measure that changes Daylight Saving to be longer...adding 3 weeks in the spring and 1 week in the fall.

Won't go into effect until 2007.

Guess that gives Canada time to mull whether to follow suit or not. Don't know what the EU is going to do....which currently already starts their DST a wee before we do.

More importantly, I won't still be at my present job when I have to figure out how to get all the servers to observe the new Daylight Saving timing. It is hard, because there are a number of servers that are operated on the "if it ain't broke, don't upgrade it" philosophy. Especially, if upgrading means spending money. Might be a hard sell to buy RHEL4 ES (because there's no more RedHat Linux Professional) just because NIS is considered a server feature, so it is omitted from the WS version. Though FTPd is also a server feature, so some users have complained about not being able to ftp in to those build machines. (too much trouble to rlogin -- without passwords because of .rhosts, and use ftp over there.)

Though last night, for inexplicable reasons...a co-worker's cube lost power...he's on a UPS, the same UPS that I'm on. So the guess is the cleaners might have bumped his power last night. But, it trashed a he had to wait for me to come in and repair it.

Wonder what he'll do when I job ends, and I leave....

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Analog Cell Phone phase out.

Apparently, in addition to the government plan to phase out analog TV, they also plan to phase out analog Cell phones.

I suppose that would make sense only if they are taking the spectrum away from the companies. Unlike TV where they are taking a portion of the band away.

Could be that analog is based on older technology of receive/transmit a much bigger chunk of spectrum is used and it is two chunks. Though the digital providers that used to do analog, tend to have their digital spectrum adjacent to the analog bands (not sure if there is some overlap, guess it depends on the technology or how the provider did its initial implementation).

I guess I'm kind of split on the elimination of analog cell phones. When I first switched to digital, the biggest problem was lack of coverage...especially when traveling. There were too many times I'd travel to a distant city, to find no digital service. And having a digital only phone, meant that I had no service.

To this, the industry responded with dual mode they could fall back to analog. Sometimes it required a different provider, especially if it happened a lot and it cost extra to do it (analog roaming fees). So, it was a requirement for me to have analog capability in my phone. And later, one where it wouldn't cost me an arm and leg whenever the phone went analog....

Though now I travel a lot less than I did back then, and digital coverage has improved (though I tend not leave the major areas). To the point, last year, where I made the leap to a digital only phone far so good. Yes, there have been times where I've been without service....but that is more of a reliability problem with the providers network than coverage. Though, that isn't really a good thing....

Monday, July 25, 2005

Garbage Plays Canada

Darn...something I don't have the luxury of doing this year because I'm in job limbo.

Can't do a major trip expedition to see Garbage perform....

Interesting that they'll be playing MacEwan Hall (UofC) in Calgary on August 27th, 2005. I've been meaning to make a trip that direction some day...though I was shooting to go the weekend following Labour Day...and it was more to visit Medicine Hat.

Perhaps next year I'll do the Medicine Hat trip. Don't know if I'll ever get to see Garbage live.

A9 Toolbar for Firefox

Well, I got the A9 Toolbar to behave. By uninstalling it and reinstalling it. Seems it wants to assert itself for position on the browser.

First I had updated my laptop, and it was the last thing I installed, so I didn't really think anything about how it had reappeared....except that it wasn't in the way of RoboForm's toolbar.

But, then I updated my work computer. I uninstalled A9 and Google before starting the update process. Only to find that I couldn't access from work. Fortunately I had some of the files on disk for when I updated my laptop.

In the process, I reinstall A9 toolbar first...and it popped into the wrong location. But, thinking order of install might be important...I uninstalled and installed the Google bar first. And, now the A9 toolbar installed into the line above the Goolge bar. So, RoboForm is where I want it to be now.

Another thing to note is that the office firewall blocks, since it considers the site to be spyware. Though is fine. And, so is

It'll be interesting when I have to remove all my personal data from my work computers....will also have to remember to remove the commercial software that is mine.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Google Toolbar for Firefox

Recently, I installed removed the unofficial Google Bar and installed the Official Google Bar in my Firefox browser on my main desktop.

The reason is because I upgraded to v1.06, which altered the way roboform works. Namely, the roboform toolbar was showing up on top of the google bar, making it less accessible.

Plus there were other bugs in the googlebar, so I was looking to upgrade it.

Because certain other people have blogs on this site, and the office google bar has a "BlogThis!" button. I decided to add yet another Blog site to my arsenal....

Now to upgrade my other computers....

Meanwhile, the A9 toolbar sticks itself under the roboform toolbar, so its days might be numbered.... Except that I kind of like it. Possibly enough that I might see if they, or some other part, is hiring.