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OS X

Journal: Snow Leopard Upgrade part 2

Journal by Penguin Follower

So far I've only had an issue with one program (or rather, a couple versions of the same program) in Snow Leopard. I do 3D renders in DAZ 3D's Carrara Pro 7. The first time I launched it, I had no text in the application. And I mean everywhere. No text on the menus, tabs... you name it. I also had Carrara 6 still on my system, so I launched it - same deal. Appears to be a font issue. So I went searching the DAZ 3D forums for topics about this issue and found a workaround.

The fix:

  1. Go to your home folder Library/Preferences/DAZ\ 3D/Carrara\ 7/Preferences.txt
  2. Open the file Preferences.txt search for: FONT ""
  3. replace it with: FONT "Times"

Other fonts may work but I know Times does.

Here is a link to the page where I got this wonderful tip.

OS X

Journal: Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard

Journal by Penguin Follower

Wow... honestly I can't believe the speed boost in everyday things that Snow Leopard gave to my 2.5 yr old Mac Pro today. Seriously, it feels like a new machine again. I bought the upgrade only because it was so cheap pre-ordering it for $29... I really wasn't expecting much of a difference. All of the re-written apps leap on screen the moment I've clicked on the dock I swear. Of course, they did not re-write iTunes, so it's still slow to load up (ok slow for this machine... not really that slow in the world of computers ;)

Also, Grand Central Station really does work! :) I've got a ton of apps running right now and previously when I would do this just to see how the machine would take it, it would only stress one or two cores (of 4 total) unless I fired up Carrara 3D. Now, when just massively multitasking I can actually see all 4 cores doing something instead of just one or two cores getting spiked for a bit. Nice :) The system is just nicely responsive no matter what.

All of this is purely subjective of course - no hard benchmarks for you here. All I can say is I've already got my $29 worth. ;) So far I haven't run into any show stoppers (like I did with Leopard at first). But, I have only been using it for about 8 hours so far.

Intel

Journal: Sweet eBay deal :)

Journal by Penguin Follower

Won an auction the other night on eBay. Paid $1100 (used) for hardware that costs right now about $2100 new. Parts were pulled from a 1 year old system (someone needed money bad to take a loss like that). And holy crap is this thing fast (and power hungry! O_O). I'm going to need a bigger PSU before I connect the rest of my hard drives!

Items that I received:

  • Dual Intel Xeon X5355 Processors (details)
  • Asus DSEB-D16/SAS Motherboard (details)
  • Qty:4 of Kingston 2GB ECC DDR2 667 FB-DIMM CL5 modules
  • ASMB3-SOL Server Management Board SO-DIMM IPMI (details)

The motherboard has a built in SAS controller (LSI Logic) that is supported by VMware ESX server - a plus since I intend to use this for virtualization. The max RAM capacity is more than I'll need (64GB). Additionally, there are 6 SATA ports, quad Gig-E NIC ports, and two full PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots and one x8 slot. There is also a single PCI-X slot at the front of the motherboard which is intended to be used with the optional Zero-Channel RAID adapter. It converts the built-in SAS controller to RAID.

Now I need to sell my two old servers. Both are old P4 based dual Xeon systems that were not 64-bit capable, hence the reason I went in search of this new monster.

User Journal

Journal: Life is peachy :)

Journal by Penguin Follower
Not sure how many people still read my journal from when I was whining about my job, but that job is now over. Long story short, my old employer had taken a contract that placed me at a childrens' hospital for what was originally a 2 month deal (Aug & Sept). There were two one month extensions, and during that time frame the hospital approached my employer about hiring me. I have loved working there on contract for the last 4 months, and now I am an employee as of Monday. New year, new job, and a hell of a pay raise! Life is good! :)
User Journal

Journal: Obama wins!

Journal by Penguin Follower
I honestly thought it would be a close race, and that in the end it would be McCain going to the White House... but I was wrong. Not only did Obama win, but he did it by the biggest margin we've had in awhile in a Presidential race. Wow, history in the making! I just hope that he can pull it off. Long night - time for some sleep! Whew! :D
Networking

Journal: My first "international" trip

Journal by Penguin Follower

Just a quick entry (so I can look back on it one day if nothing else) to say that I've had to leave the States for my job for the first time. After 8 1/2 hours of driving yesterday, I made it to Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. This was an extremely long and BORING drive. Holy crap, there is like nothing to look at while traveling the 401 from Windsor to Oshawa. Well except for the Toronto skyline as I zipped past it. Really nothing to look at though.

By the way, if you want to come up here doing work, don't tell that to the border guards. They will turn you around and send you home. I was tipped off about that and so I didn't make that mistake. ;) You're OK if you're coming up here to a "meeting", but if you're getting paid to do something up here the Canadian Gov't doesn't want you here... OTOH, if you're coming up here to spend money (i.e. a vacation) then by all means - c'mon in!

Cheers, ~ Steve

User Journal

Journal: OS X 10.5.2 update + core graphics update = Yay! :D

Journal by Penguin Follower

Finally! I can use Leopard. I bought it back when Apple released it. The one and only thing that kept me from using Leopard up until now was a problem with the system freezing randomly. It appeared to be something that involved my ATI X1900XT that came in my Mac Pro from the factory. Well, now that 10.5.2 was out and I also noticed a core graphics update had been released, I decided to try Leopard on my system again. Even did an upgrade this time (after backing up of course!) instead of a clean install. Guess what..... ZERO PROBLEMS! :D

Needless to say I am very happy.

User Journal

Journal: This week's adventures in travel 6

Journal by Penguin Follower
Today we're going to talk about northwest Indiana (as in Chicago suburbs - I'm like 10 miles from the Illinois border). Anyway, I'm going to talk about weather, but mainly in contrast to what I've known most of my life (Ohio). So the phrase I'd like to use in reference to what I encountered last night on my way back to the hotel from the bar is.... Holy Fucking Shit, Batman!

When we talk about a white out in a snow storm in Ohio, it holds no candle to what the wind can do up here near Chicago. It was so cold with the wind chill... no words to describe it. And it was so much of a white out, that I couldn't see two cars ahead of me in traffic - even while sitting still at the red light (of which there are many). It took me nearly 40 minutes to go from Crown Point to Schererville (in contrast to before the storm I got there in 20).

So, there you have it! Only visit this place in the summer. ;)
First Person Shooters (Games)

Journal: Good find on eBay

Journal by Penguin Follower
I'm grinning from ear to ear on this deal I got on eBay. Found a Toshiba Satellite P105 series laptop for half the price of a new one, and it is only 13 months old. (With proof - the original receipt was in the box the seller shipped it in!). The original owner paid $1894 + S&H in December 2006 from Amazon.com. I got it for $830 + S&H. Most of the used ones on eBay like it were still selling for $1,200+.

So anyway, I mainly bought it to take with me as I travel (those who read my entries know I am on the road 75% of the time). I used to be an active gamer, but don't do it that often due to travel (when I get home on the weekends, I'm just usually not into sitting in front of the computer.) I bought this one so I can game on the road. So what kind of gaming can you do on a $830 laptop? Well in this case - pretty good. It is a 17" widescreen laptop w/ full keyboard, and is equipped with an nvidia 7900GS discrete graphics "card" (with it's own 256MB of memory). And to round it out, it has an Intel "Centrino" Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz, 2GB of RAM, and a 200GB hard disk. The owner left 3Dmark03 on it, so I ran it. It gets in excess of 14,000 marks. I should try 3Dmark06 on it some time. It runs Call of Duty 4 acceptably, so that's all that really matters to me. Well that and Battlefield 2142 (which runs almost maxed out with no hangups).

So far my only dislikes about the laptop are the glossy screen and the 4,200rpm spindle speed of the hard drive. The glossy screen picks up too much reflection from bright lights. The slow spindle speed of the hard drive causes hangups in games when a lot of data needs to be loaded. The system will pause for a split second while the drive catches up with the rest of the system. I'm not going to complain too loudly, however. I got it for a raping-low price, so it's all good! :D

- Steve
User Journal

Journal: Tomorrow's destination and travel in general 3

Journal by Penguin Follower

Just got home earlier from one trip, and I've just finished packing for the next. I have a 6:00AM flight to New Hampshire out of Columbus (Ohio). Which means I need to get up at 2:30AM so I can leave by 3:20AM (I'm slow in the morning). This way I'll arrive at Port Columbus Int'l Airport about 4:30. That gives me an hour and a half to catch my flight. I could probably cut it closer, seeing as I usually have time to spare (CMH is not a particularly busy airport at 4:30-6:00 in the morning), but why push your luck, right?

I get back late Thursday night, and Friday I am taking the next core of the MCSA/MCSE (I will eventually go all the way to MCSE, but just need to get MCSA out of the way first. It's hard to work exams into my heavy travel schedule).

Oh and next week I head to Vermont for 4 days. That Friday I'll actually be on business in my home state (yay!).

One more note: New Hampshire and Vermont will be states number #16 and #17 respectively that I've been to in the last 11 months. Here is the breakdown of the states I've been to this year not including the one I live in (Ohio) and the number of times I've been there is in parenthesis.

In alphabetical order:

  • Alabama (1)
  • Florida (3)
  • Georgia (1)
  • Illinois (1)
  • Indiana (1)
  • Kentucky (1)
  • Maryland (1)
  • Michigan (2)
  • New Jersey (2)
  • New York (3)
  • Oklahoma (1)
  • Pennsylvania (4)
  • Tennessee (1)
  • Virginia (1)
  • Wisconsin (1)

As I said I will be adding Hew Hampshire and Vermont to that list in the next couple weeks. Also, I'll be incrementing the number next to Kentucky the week of Thanksgiving. When I get back from that trip, I'll be taking the last core of the MCSA the day before Thanksgiving.

~ Steve

User Journal

Journal: Mac OS X 10.5 Server article on networkcomputing.com 1

Journal by Penguin Follower

I stumbled upon a pretty decent article covering a review of Mac OS X 10.5 Server (Leopard).

On of my favorite parts of the article is a reminder about how all versions of OS X reside on the same disk. In fact, every installation is all things: Intel/PPC/32bit/64bit. From TFA:

The installation DVD contains 32- and 64-bit code for Intel and PowerPC Mac platforms. In fact, every in-place build of Leopard is 32/64 and Intel/PPC. To test Apple's claims, we built a server on a dual G5 server using an external Firewire drive as our boot partition. We then successfully booted and ran Leopard from the Firewire drive on a six-year-old dual G4 Xserve and a 13" Macbook (32-bit platforms) and Xeon and G5 Xserves for 64-bit goodness. All platforms had wildly different hardware configurations, yet the OS ran without a single issue on each box, all server functionality intact.

Anyone out there willing to try that with Windows 2003?

Muahahaha! :D I love that last comment. I only wish I could work with Apple stuff on a regular basis. While I have a Mac in my mix of hardware at home, everything I do at my current job centers around Microsoft solutions. :( Oh well. Go Apple, Go! :)

User Journal

Journal: Job Update [Edited/Updated] 1

Journal by Penguin Follower
Salary would be $40K
Standard benefits package
IRA after 6 months of up to 15% of your gross anually for you to do what you wish with.
2 Weeks vacation.

This is not as good as I had hoped for. I was hoping for $45k/year. At $40k/yr, it does take care of the cost of living increase (and a tad more), but I'm not entirely sure if it's worth moving that far away. Then again, my current employer knows something is up when I refused to sign the contract to get reimbursed for my exam fees. It would lock me in with them for another year. I want to keep my options open. If I break that contract I would owe them back for the exam fees at least. :(

What do you guys think?

EDIT:
I really don't think that $40k/yr is enough considering I have to leave friends and family behind. It's just barely more money than the cost of living increase. It would be like getting a $1500/yr raise, but things are slim now as it is for me in Dayton, so $1500/yr increase is not going to fix everything. At this point I think I should just play my cards right with my current employer until I see another job opening somewhere.
Desktops (Apple)

Journal: Upgraded to Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard"

Journal by Penguin Follower

Well, I upgraded to Leopard. In fact I'm writing this journal entry on my freshly upgraded MacPro right now. I remember a comment on a forum ( I don't remember which site I was reading at the time ) where some people were afraid of Leopard running slower than Tiger. I remember one person say something along the lines of "every upgrade was faster for me from 10.0 through 10.3, but 10.4 was a slight downgrade in performance. I wonder how Leopard will run?". Well for me (and take note that I do have a system that is less than a year old) the upgrade has not resulted in a performance slowdown. Actually I think my system feels snappier than it did before - if that's even possible. It was already down right quick. For those who may have forgotten or don't know, I bought a MacPro quad core 2.66GHz with 2GB of RAM back in April.

I love spaces first off. I always liked having multiple desktops on *nix and finally OS X has this functionality. And Apple added their magic touch to it. I love being able to see a bird's eye view of the spaces and being able to drag'n'drop an application from one space to another. Sure, on some *nix window managers you could drag an application window to the edge of the screen to move it over to the next space, but on most WMs you used a menu on the title bar to select which virtual desktop you wanted to send the window to.

I find Apple's additions to the Mail program interesting. It looks as though Apple is slowly adding features to both Mail and iCal that replicate the functionality of Microsoft Outlook. Only I like it better than Outlook (which I do have to use everyday at work unfortunately).

The shiny new reflective dock is intersting as well. The one thing that isn't so great about it is being able to tell which applications are running. It used to put a little black triangle under the icon of running applications. Now it is a little blue, oval-shaped light that is not bold enough to see clearly. Apple should make it brighter or try a different color.

While we're on the dock meme I might as well mention Stacks. I do like stacks. I already had a folder I called "Downloads" in my home directory, and I had an icon for it on my dock. So I was already basically the same thing, but when I used my shortcut, Finder would open the folder in a window, whereas I can click on the stack, choose my file, and the stack collapses. It saves me clicking the close button on the finder window (ok, so I'm lazy). The really cool part was that my having a folder already called downloads didn't mess anything up when I upgraded. Upon first boot I found my downloads stack sitting there, and when I clicked on it, my files fanned out like they were supposed to. I like it when things just work. :)

I've just began to scratch the surface of the new features, but I decided I would write about what I've used so far. So far I am a happy camper with Leopard. I can't say the same about Windows Vista on my PC. :(

User Journal

Journal: What to do? A job offer far from home... 9

Journal by Penguin Follower

I had a conversation today with a buddy of mine that used to work with me at my current employer. He was more or less a system administrator for us, and to our clients he was the person that came in to assess the situation and report back to HQ, so that sales could pitch a solution ("total package") to the client.

He is someone that I respect a great deal. He always valued my input on a situation (he wasn't really my supervisor, but would often be the project lead on a project I was assigned). He's also yet to steer me wrong. He also always thanked me for a job well done. And, I'll also add that he's one of those people that is technically proficient in the IT consulting world, and yet has excellent social skills as well. Liked by almost everyone. It goes a long way for him at times. I am not as socially adept, but I wish I was.

That said, he currently lives in Florida and works for a financial backer (one of the things they do is loans to small businesses). It's a stable company, with a CEO who is open to new technologies. In fact, I'm told the CEO wants to investigate using Linux in the server room (CEO hates paying MS all those licensing fees). Of course, I am a huge fan of Linux, and I have had some experience maintaining mail and web servers running Linux for a previous employer (not my current employer - they are in bed with MS). So, my contact (as I'll refer to him) is the sole systems administrator at this company and he's swamped with work these days - and the company plans to expand soon.

Getting to the point, I was griping about my current job and he said, "why not come down here and work with me?" He's got more work than he can efficiently get to these days, and he's not versed enough in Linux to offer up those Linux solutions that CEO wants to see. So, I have things to bring to the table. I am generally versed enough in Linux to support Linux on the back end (so long as it does not involve doing any programming), and I am an MCSA, and I have Cisco knowledge as well - I've just never taken the CCNA exam.

I've been told I will have some "freedom of creativity" in playing with technologies to see what may be beneficial to the company. In other words, I get to "geek around" on the job instead of at home trying out new things in a lab setting. And to top it all off, the salary offer is more than enough to offset the increase in the cost of living in moving from where I'm at (Ohio) to where he is (Florida).

"So what's holding you back?" you may be asking. Family. And friends. All of the people I care about the most are here in Dayton. I have no family in Florida. I have some relatives in Georgia, but not close to where I'd be in Florida. So I will be alone, in new territory. Not that I don't do this regularly lately. If you read my last post you'll know that I'm on the road in a new place every week as part of the current project that I'm assigned to. But I get to come home on the weekends. I have family and friends nearby. I have no significant other or kids to move with me. So unlike my weekly travels where I get to come home, this will be leaving for good. And I am just not sure I can uproot and move. :( And it's sad because the job description as it has been relayed to me is extremely enticing. [sigh]

Choices, choices...

You're already carrying the sphere!

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