Archive for April 2008

Southern California   1 comment

I live in the Los Angeles basin, and have been here since 1989. During that time, I’ve lived and worked and gone to school just about everywhere except Malibu. I’ve had every cruddy commute you can imagine, on just about every freeway. Living in LA is itself a topic on which you could dedicate an entire blog.

About the only thing I don’t like about SoCal is the propensity of the basin to burst into flame in September. The ash and smoke gives me a second allergy season, which is not fun.

Well, this year it’s dry enough that we didn’t have to wait until September. This fire is far enough from home that I’m not worried at all about the neighborhood burning down, but my driveway is coated in a fine layer of ash and the allergy attack I was just getting over on Friday is back in full force. It looks like it may have hit ridgelines almost all around, however – here’s hoping the fireline in the north valley holds (from InciWeb):

Posted April 29, 2008 by padraic2112 in news

Will Someone Please Stop the Material?   1 comment

Seriously.  How can I get back to blogging about actual sysadmin work and/or my research when I am spoon fed stuff like this?  It’s a $300,000 watch that doesn’t tell time.

Now, Vinnie would say that this is the perfect watch for Vegas, and he’s right.  There are two times in Vegas, “day” and “night”, and you really can’t tell the difference if you’re at the tables – the entire casino is designed as a time suspension capsule to keep you at your seat.  Moreover, if you’re a high roller, a $300,000 price tag isn’t going to be a big imposition, right?

Let’s make one thing absolutely clear: if you buy this watch, you are an idiot.  You might be an extremely well-heeled idiot, but you are a straight-on, starkers, no-kiddin’, flat-out self absorbed fool.  At least Ferrari owners can get some functionality out of their obscene purchases… this is something designed to do nothing.

Posted April 27, 2008 by padraic2112 in noise

My Nephew can Write   1 comment

He should start his own blog.  Thanks for posting this, Megan.  Got to me, too.

I wish that my wife and children had met my grandmother.

Posted April 26, 2008 by padraic2112 in family

Welcome Heavy D   5 comments

The brother in law has started blogging resumed blogging; looks like I’ve sucked yet another one in! (Of course, I deserve no real credit for this whatsoever).

Since Dave is a Dodgers fan, I’m going to have a tough time reading his blog due to the fact that my favorite baseball team is going to spend the vast majority of the season deep in the proverbial toilet. What makes it worse is that the Dodgers are The Rival. Ugh. Well, at least we both like the Lakers. Here is where my brother will comment that I’m a traitor to my blood since I became a fan of the Lakers, but I can say two things in my defense: first, that the Golden State Warriors are as accursed a franchise as the Clippers and deserve nothing but ridicule; and second, that I became a Laker fan after watching the second Randy Pfund season with my then-roommate. I rest easy that there is no way I can be accused of being a bandwagon fan for adopting a team with a 33-49 record.

But I digress. What led me to author this post was reading Dave’s Top 5 Video Games post. I thought I’d answer back with mine:

  • Civilization III: Conquests (PC)
  • Populous (Sega Genesis)
  • Fighters Megamix (Sony Playstation)
  • Resident Evil 3 (Sony Playstation)
  • Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun (PC/Sony Playstation)

As you can surmise, it’s been a while since I had serious gearhead gaming time.

Posted April 26, 2008 by padraic2112 in family, noise, software, tech

Do Not Buy Me One Of These   4 comments

Man, today is post-eriffic from a blogger’s standpoint. I just don’t have time to write all this stuff up.

This, however, deserved a big… “What… THE HeLL?”

From Engadget, via Bruce. I’ll just let the picture tell the thousand words here, because I’m at a loss for ’em on this one.

Posted April 25, 2008 by padraic2112 in noise

Parenting is Hard   1 comment

… and the “fun” part is, it’s hard in different ways as time goes by.

When they’re really young, it’s hard because they don’t sleep like adults.  For both of my children, this lasted from birth to around 12 months -> forget sleeping through the night, we’re talking about the children sleeping long enough for the adult to get into stage 3 or 4.  11+ months of mental exhaustion is hard.

When they get sick, it’s hard because they don’t understand why they feel like crap.  Understanding is key to lessening anxiety, so sick kids are not only physically unwell, they’re mentally off balance and completely stressed out.  Since you can’t explain to them why they feel like crap, you’re unable to lessen your anxiety, either.

When they learn how to walk, it’s hard because they want to explore everything, and they get frustrated when they’re not allowed to do so.  When they finally get old enough to have enough manual dexterity and self-directed imagination to entertain themselves (about 26 months), you start to think, “Whew!  Hard part over!  Now it’s cruising time until they get old enough to be sullen.”


Jack has pink eye.  In addition to this, he’s been unable to shake a cough, and has a bit of a temperature, and generally feels wretched.  He’s almost four, so he’s handling this with pretty good grace (he’s certainly much less cranky than Hannah was when she was going through this combo).  The problem is that it turns out that Jack has a thing about his eyes.

Some people have eye things.  You probably know what I’m talking about, even if you’re not one of these people.  “Eye thing” people will never wear contacts.  “Eye thing” people freak out if something comes close to touching their eyes.  It’s not just the natural reaction that evolution has provided us to defend your ocular sensing mechanism, it’s a bit more than that.  And Jack has it.  Which was a total surprise, because he’s a tough cookie – he takes shots at the doctor without being fazed, really.

This means that putting eye drops into his eyes requires a real amount of physical force.  It’s the first time in his life that I haven’t been able to use reason, or just a calming voice, or a neat trick, or cajoling, or bribing with something to get him to go along with something that he doesn’t want to do.  I can put drops in my own eyes, doesn’t help.  Offer a cookie, doesn’t help.  Try the command voice, no good.  I’m not going to claim that I’m the greatest parent in the world, but I’ve been exposed to an awful lot of children in my life and I flatter myself that I know a ton of ways that you can get them to go along with something.  One of them has always worked in the past, now I’m just stumped.

He just can’t help himself -> the minute I tilt his head back to try and put in the drops, no matter how calm he is up to that point and how much groundwork I’ve laid, he FREAKS out.  Struggling, kicking, squeezing his eyes shut, screaming like he’s being murdered.  I literally had to sit on him last night to get his eyedrops in.
This is the first time that I’ve actually felt like I’m doing something to my child that he’s interpreting as literal torture, and man… it’s the pits.

Sure, he gets over it quickly after the drops are done (he’s young enough to have that astonishing mental recovery that small kids have).  Sure, it’s something that has to be done, and whether I like it or not isn’t really relevant -> time to cowboy up, soldier, and give that young man his medicine.

… but even though he recovers pretty fast, *I* don’t have that astonishing mental recovery that small kids have, and that’s hard.  Harder than getting no sleep, or losing out on free time, or having less disposable income, or any of the other things that people might think are hard *before* they have kids.

Posted April 25, 2008 by padraic2112 in parenting

This One Goes To Eleven   2 comments

See, when you’re drivin’ in your motorcar, and you’re going 185 MPH, and you want to make a turn but four tires really just aren’t enough, you’ve got these other two tires to go to… for when you need just a bit more. There’s six tires, see, which is bigger.

Photoshopped, or real?  It’s been done before, in F1 (thanks to Mr. McKinnon for the link)

ENGINE: rear, longitudinal, 8 cylinder in V formation, 4 valves per cylinder, naturally aspirated, petrol direct injection Bosch-motronic.
CAPACITY: 4200 cc
MAX POWER: 440 PS (325KW) at 6400 rpm
MAX TORQUE: about 470 Nm at 2700 rpm
TRANSMISSION: rear wheel drive transaxle
GEARBOX: mechanical 6-speed + reverse. Manual and electro-hydraulic steeringwheel mounted servo
CHASSIS: steel tubular with carbon fibre reinforcements and structural parts
SUSPENSION: independent front and rear wishbones
WHEELS AND TYRES: front 15in wheels with 205/45-15 tyres; rear 20in with 345/25-20 tyres
BRAKES: front and rear vented Brembo discs. Bosch servo and electronic brake distribution
BODYWORK: glass fibre and carbon fibre
DIMENSIONS: length 4180mm; width 1990mm; height 1080mm; wheelbase 2230mm/2750mm (to foremost/middle front transaxle); front track 1540mm; rear track 1620mm ; dry weight 1150Kg
TOP SPEED: 300Kph (185mph)

Posted April 25, 2008 by padraic2112 in noise, tech

Warrantless Wiretapping   Leave a comment

Well, the House of Representatives didn’t cave on the telecom immunity provision of the warrantless wiretapping bill, but don’t expect this to go away.  Now the FBI wants in on the action:

The suggestion from FBI Director Robert Mueller, which came during a House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing, appears to go beyond a current plan to monitor traffic on federal-government networks. Mueller seemed to suggest that the bureau should have a broad “omnibus” authority to conduct monitoring and surveillance of private-sector networks as well.

The surveillance should include all Internet traffic, Mueller said, “whether it be .mil, .gov, .com–whichever network you’re talking about.” (See the transcript of the hearing.)

In response to questions from Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, Mueller said his idea “balances on one hand, the privacy rights of the individual who are receiving the information, but on the other hand, given the technology, the necessity of having some omnibus search capability utilizing filters that would identify the illegal activity as it comes through and give us the ability to preempt that illegal activity where it comes through a choke point.”

It’s true, abuses of power by the FBI are relatively rare.  There are some spectacular counterexamples, however.  Quite frankly, this seems to be a very bad security trade-off.  What online criminal behavior is this going to interdict?  Online gambling?  Illegal file sharing?  Somehow I don’t see a level of harm here that warrants broad scale general surveillance.

Posted April 24, 2008 by padraic2112 in news, politics, security

Linux Sysadmins Rejoice   Leave a comment

It’s actually possible! Some time in the relatively near future, you won’t have to package Java yourself! Sun is finally providing something uncomplicated for a platform other than Solaris!

OpenJDK is based on Java Platform, Standard Edition (SE) 6. The open sourcing process began in November 2006. But a few components, including some encryption libraries, graphics libraries, the sound engine, and some SNMP management code still could not be offered under the GNU General Public License. These components accounted for 4 percent of the platform…

The few remaining encumbrances on Java have prevented Linux distributors from offering a fully open-source version of Java, said Sands. “All those Linux distributions, they haven’t had a full-blown implementation in them,” he said…

Once Java is 100 percent open source, it can be shipped as part of Linux, Sands said. Ubuntu has distributed Java as separately available commercial software, he noted.

Of course, this process started 18 months ago, so… well, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Posted April 23, 2008 by padraic2112 in linux, open source, software, solaris, tech

Stupid? Yes. Cool? YES.   1 comment

Have you seen the director’s cut of Aliens? The one where they show the roboguns that have the motion sensors built into them? The Colonial Space Marines put a pair in the underground tunnels leading to the colony to slow down the aliens.

From Andy, here’s a (stupid but) fun version: the Paintball Sentry Turret.

From the site:

The EMT Paintball Sentry Turret is the first and only Video Relay Paintball Turret available. It comes loaded with standard options and can be customized to meet your needs. You will not find anything else like it.

On the field, The EMT Paintball Turret adds a whole new level of game play to any scenario game. It is also a huge hit for public groups when used to guard a base or target. The Video Relay Remote Controls allow physically disabled persons an opportunity to participate in paintball when they previously were unable to. It’s also a popular option for parents or children too shy to participate on field with more experienced players.

The unit is completely sealed from paintball impacts and is also available in both water proof and winter weather (up to -30 C) versions for the hardcore players who play year-round in the cold winters.

The EMT Paintball Sentry Turret can be upgraded with a number of options such as infinite 360 degree rotation, 1000+round hoppers, RPS upgrades, etc. There are also a number of customizable options and add-ons that can be installed for free at the time of purchase or bought for an existing setup.

Posted April 22, 2008 by padraic2112 in noise, tech