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User Journal

Journal: Weird Ubuntu Wireless Shenannigans 1 1

I got a call from the gf the other day at work. She was at home doing homework on her Ubuntu laptop and said the Internet wasn't working. I believe she said she couldn't connect to the Wireless, actually. So I had her turn off the router and turn it back on. When that didn't work, I said I'd be home in a bit, because trying to walk her through troubleshooting is a nightmare. So first thing's first, I tried pinging Google from my desktop, which also connects wirelessly. I'd get about 39 pings off and then it'd freeze for about a minute. Then I'd get some more pings off and it'd freeze again. I powered off the modem and powered it back on. Same thing.

So I didn't have time to dig into it anymore, so I told her to just come to my work and she could use the office WiFi.

When I got home, I tried again, and everything was hunkey dorey until I turned my laptop on. Then I saw the problem again. I set both the laptop and desktop up to ping Google and I'd get the same thing - on again off again connectivity, but they would alternate. Ah ha! I had a theory. So then I pointed them both at and got the same result, proving it wasn't the Internet.

The theory was gaining traction.

I pointed my desktop to the router's admin console and checked my devices. I saw there were 3 connected (my phone was on too), but only two were identified with an IP address, and the other was just all dashes (-------- ----------). So it saw a device, but couldn't assign it an IP. I checked all the settings to make sure my DHCP wasn't set to only allow 2 devices (something I have done in the past), or that I didn't have any static IPs set. Nothing.

I grew more frustrated.

Then I disabled networking on the laptop. When I turned it back on, problem solved.

So this must be a weird Ubuntu bug, or something related to the driver for that card. I dunno. But I'm glad it's fixed. That would have driven me nuts for a long time to come.

User Journal

Journal: The Waiting Game Is a Stupid Game

I've got this ColdFusion app that sucks in a bunch of data from a Teradata database, and joins it up with a bunch of data in an Oracle database, and then stores it in its own table. The problem with this is, I have to run a nightly batch job to suck it all in. I'm doing this in ColdFusion, so I've got a 5 minute timeout (default web timeout) that I need to stay under. Everything was fine until I got a complaint about a feature of the archive script not working. I think I fixed that, but now it's going way over 5 minutes, and I think this is because before, it was skipping a whole section. Now that I've got it hitting this section of code, it's running waayyyyy longer.

And it wasn't until late yesterday that I finally decided to do some log statements. See, in Java, I'd just step through the code with a debugger. But with ColdFusion (particularly in our environment) we just edit our code and hit a URL and the server runs it. No way to debug. Typically, it's not a big deal. Just through in some output statements and see where your trouble lies. But now I can't even get the damn thing to return to the browser. So logging has become a necessity.

So now I've got my log statements in there and I'm just waiting for the damn thing to timeout. The waiting game.

So while I'm waiting, I'm going to bitch about a coworker. He's one of the managers here, and I do not work for him. But that doesn't stop him from fucking things up for me, and everyone, really.

I used to think he was just a harmless kiss-ass who liked to suck up to his boss and his boss' boss, and his boss' boss' boss, ad infinitum. That would be annoying, but it's whatever. But now, it's become clear that he's out of control. He's amassed an army of pawns who don't necessarily know he's terrible and are willing to do whatever he asks. And it would be another thing if he actually knew what he was doing. But he doesn't. He's technologically stupid, and architecturally shortsighted.

The thing that set me off a couple weeks ago was when one of his people asked me for help getting the customer that is attached to a user ID. I told him that you just need to extend one of our common components and that it's done for you. Then I asked to see his code. It was alien. There was nothing resembling our company's coding standards to be found. And then I found out that this was already being used for demos to boss' boss' boss etc.

This is the kind of thing that I could ignore if I didn't know it would come back to me some day to be maintained or fixed, or whatever. And by that point, it'd be so entrenched that refactoring would be outlandish. And since I didn't get the Architect job here, I'm trying to keep an open mind about the new Architect. But so far, all I've seen is - ugh, let's just call him Brody, cause it starts with a B, and he's also kind of a bro-dude-buddy - Brody using him as his personal architect. And I don't think he's deep-dived into our systems yet. That bugs me. He need to know this stuff inside and out to be the architect, and so far, all he's talked about it how they did it at his last company and gives us this pie-in-the-sky answers about how we COULD do things. I'm not interested in COULD. I'm interested in what are we doing now, and what can we do tomorrow to show results. I dunno, he just seems lazy to me, and not the "I'm so good at my job I look lazy" way. I also found out he was friends with his boss, which is probably part of the reason for the hire. I'm still trying to keep an open mind, but I'm slowly starting to form an opinion and so far, it isn't terribly high.

And now, 20 minutes after I ran my script, it finally timed out. I'm trying to get the logs I wrote, which are huge. And the geniuses behind our logviewer thought it would be good to use infinite scrolling to display logs with no "download log file" option. So, this is gonna take another hour. Ffffuuuuckkkkk. Nobody thinks about utility around here. It's like, "Oooh, let's implement this fun cool looking feature" without thinking about how useful it will be. I just want the raw logs so I can open them in Vim and see what the hell my app is doing. Ugghhhhghghhgghghghgh!!fFFFUUCCCKKK.

I guess that about sums it up.

User Journal

Journal: I Direct at You, the Seething Hatred of One Thousand Suns! 2 2

There's trouble in paradise. My once cushy and enjoyable job is clearly nearing EOL. This is due to someone else here, a real "go getter." You see, not only is this individual Machiavellian in nature, but he's tech-stupid to boot. So we have a power grabber who doesn't know shit about what he's trying to manage. This is going to end up destabilizing the company over the long term, making my job much less enjoyable because A.) I will end up cleaning up the mess, and B.) He will slowly suck up more and more power and I could end up working under this fuck.

He's always been this way, but more recently it has become a problem. I got a ping from one of his people on Friday, asking me for some help. I obliged, and I was confused by his question. So I asked to see his code. Lo and behold, it looked nothing like what our core systems look like. This is because they are off-site employees and FuckHead keeps all his people in silos, away from all the other (read: experienced) developers. And now that our Architect has been replaced with a new guy (not me, of course), DickWad has decided to become buddy-buddy with him so he's got the brains in his back pocket (since they're not in his head).

So now we've got Rogue coders corrupting our code base and an architect who has, whether he knows it or not, joined the dark side. Couple this with Asshole's climb-to-the-top-on-the-backs-of-others mentality, and you've got a recipe for disaster. My only option, it seems is to start making an exit strategy. Which sucks. I like it here. I'm really fucking good at this job. I know the code inside and out, and I understand the business. I've been here for 4 years, man. I like my boss and his boss. But I don't see any other option.

And CockKnob is so good at his back stabbing techniques. He never technically "does anything wrong" so it's not like I can nail him on something fundamentally against company policy or anything. It's all the little things. Like how he accepted a Summit Award for a project he had nothing to do with, while screwing someone who had significantly helped the effort out of his award. But you can't really get "in trouble" for accepting an unjust award. It's how he takes credit for other people's work, while putting all the blame for any mistakes on everyone else. It's how he puts people who don't work for him on an org chart under him when he meets with higher-ups. It's not a fireable offense, should he be called out. Hell, it's probably not even a mentionable offense. If all else failed, he could just claim technical oversight and be like, "sorry 'bout that!" But the damage is done, because now that VP sees him as someone who has a lot of responsibility. The seed has been planted.

This is an asshole with no integrity. But integrity is one of those intangibles that have no metrics attached, and as such, has no real bearing on how far JizzGuzzler will go. I've been assured that his reputation will get around, but I know how it works. By the time it gets around, he'll be long gone, promoted to the next level up, where he can inflict more damage on a larger group of people.

So here's where we get to the solution. It's not easy, and it's really not even directed at him. It's a parachute for me, cause when this plane catches fire, I am not hanging around to see if we can put it out. This is why I'm going back to school to get my masters in mathematics. I registered earlier this year, but with less intention of actually doing it. It was kind of an "eh, we'll see" attitude. But now it's a do-or-die attitude. This program can help me right several worries I've had in my head for quite some time. One is the aforementioned NutRubber. But just so as not to give him too much power (more than he already thinks he has), I'm also doing it for me. I've grown comfortable and quite honestly, bored with my job. It's too easy. Same thing over and over. Understand business requirements, architect a system, the copy-paste a bunch of shit and it's done. Very little innovation. I'm not saying I'm not good at it. I am. That's why it's boring. But I know I'm not good at math. It's not easy to me. That's a challenge, and that's why I must do it.

Data Science is the next frontier, and it's already commanding huge salaries at other companies. With a national average salary of $118k according to Glassdoor (which, if I have any hope of being a data scientist, I obviously must question weather that's the arithmetic average, the median, or the mode - but either way...) it's one of the highest paying jobs out there. Developers are a dime a dozen (not good ones, mind you, but job-filling ones). I want to cement my place in the needs of a company. This is the way to do it.

My first class will be Probability Models, and I'm stoked. Every day I go to class, I'll be a step closer to carving out my own path, and kissing ShitStain goodbye.

User Journal

Journal: Upgrading Eclipse to Luna

Ugghhhh. Here we go again, with the Eclipse bullshit. (This will be sort of stream-of-consciousness as I'm just going to rant as I get this shit working...)

So I'm about ready to start a new project and I bit the bullet and upgraded to the latest "stable" (sarcasm detected) Eclipse release, Luna. I had been using Juno forever, with great disdain, but at least I knew most of its quirks. So now I get to learn all of Luna's quirks.

Starting with a little red X on each of my project POMs with the following error:

Plugin execution not covered by lifecycle configuration: org.codehaus.mojo:build-helper-maven-plugin:1.5:add-source (execution: add-generated-source, phase: generate-sources)

I found this StackOverflow solution:

Which basically just says to tell Eclipse to ignore it.

Next is this lovely little warning: "Implementation of project facet could not be found."

For that, I'm told to go delete .settings\org.eclipse.wst.common.project.facet.core.xml from EACH FUCKING PROJECT. And then do Maven updates. Or maybe restart Eclipse. Who knows. I hate you, Eclipse.

I'm also also getting issues connecting to the Marketplace. That's fucking annoying too. Had to switch from Native proxy to manual and enter a username/password.

Apparently Subclipse doesn't come installed. Gotta install that...

Restart one more time...

Annnddd, it's kinda almost maybe sort of working. Still got a bunch of little warnings that I'll need to get cleared up, but whatever. I'm tired and hungry. Time to go home. Stupid Eclipse...

User Journal

Journal: Gleaning Information With Exif 1 1

While digging through my past, there are points in my life that are black holes. These are problematic. I joined Gmail in 2004, Facebook in 2005, and basically everything after that is recorded in some form of digits. But prior to that is proving to be a challenge. I had a MySpace, Live Journal, Yahoo!, and Hotmail account dating back to 1997, but all of them have been obliterated. I bet even the NSA would have trouble coming up with data on me prior to 2004. So this leaves me stumped.

One thing I did have was a digital camera. And I'm not braindead, so I remember things that happened when I took those pictures. So, with the power of Exif and the "Date/Time Original" field, I'm actually able to do a little detective work. But there's a catch. That requires you to have first set the date time on the camera, something I never saw the value in back in 2003 when I first got my Olympus C40 Zoom (A WHOPPING 2.8x ZOOM and 4.0 MEGAPIXELS!!!).

Side note: I'm really stoked to see this bad boy again: Sheeeeeiitttt.

So anyway, having not set the date/time, I was left with a bogus date. The time doesn't matter much for this experiment. All I want is the date so I can put events on a post-dated calendar.

But I have one thing that technology doesn't have: memory! Ok, that's unfair, but you know what I mean. I can use my memories of when the pictures were taken around a specific date (i.e. my birthday) and adjust from there. So, upon finding a specific picture taken on my birthday that contained a date within Exif, I just had to do the addition. Plug for my favorite online date/time tool:

Once that was done, I just needed to adjust all the other dates and I've got my events.

Surprisingly effective for such stupid simple shit. Now, I'm facing the problem that I've deleted a shitton of pictures somehow, and I'm not sure I can get them back easily. I was looking into Autopsy, but it wants an image and I'm not sure I can get it that... But for now, I'll take my small victory.

By the way, beware of that Exif data, particularly if you are sending something you think is anonymous. Your best bet is to take a screenshot of the picture and send that, assuring you aren't transferring any Exif data, thereby revealing yourself. That is unrelated to this post, but it's a thought.

User Journal

Journal: Archiving My Life

2014 was a trip down nostalgia lane. I dug through my past and started documenting. But this year I have only gotten more serious about it. As I dig through old emails, paper documents, school work - anything, I am distraught by how much is gone forever. There are events in my life that will only live in my head. But for how long? Now is the time to document everything that has happened in my life. The further away I get from it, the harder it gets to find and remember. But once it's recorded, I'll have it forever.

I'm basically putting everything on my Google Calendar, and keeping documents in my Google Drive. The calendar is the easiest way I can look back at what I've done. What am I documenting? Anything remotely significant. Seeing a certain band, or visiting another city. Making out with this girl or that. Anything that isn't mundane. To be fair, this entire project is extremely mundane, and I'm not really living while I'm doing it. But I see it as a small sacrifice in order to preserve the past.

Slashdot journals have been extremely helpful as well - indeed, they have their own calendar. I even copy the contents of the journal and past them into the calendar description field. So much is coming back to me just from putting everything on a calendar. It's like the picture continues to get clearer, and I am transported back to that time. Anyway, I need to keep going. Back to it!

User Journal

Journal: Operation Pacman

It's been a while since I spawned an Operation. As I'll remind my audience of approximately zero, I determine operations based on the need for a long term focus on a particular goal. This particular goal is eradicating debt. And since I can't do it all at once, I'm doing it a little bit at a time. Like Pacman eating the little dots (monthly payments) and trying not to get caught by the ghosts (surprise expenses).

I've got my spreadsheet model laid out for various situations. Currently, it is set on what I am calling "Insane Mode" where I basically have no life and pay as much as I can on my loans. Realizing this isn't realistic, I'm going to create a Goal in Simple for Student Loans (and eventually Upstart Loan) and set aside as much as I possibly can in to that, leaving me about $400/month for food. If I go over that $400, then I eat away at my debt payment, causing me to be more mindful of my spending.

I'm also going to make an effort to shop cheaper, doing my grocery shopping at Target and such instead of the local mom & pop, which is much more expensive.

This is coming on the heels of learning that I will be supporting my girlfriend through anesthesia school a lot more than I anticipated. I can still eradicate my debt by bonus time next year though if I stick to this. I won't be eating ramen though, as my health will always come first. But bars, restaurants, and expensive cigars are out. Even expensive whiskey is out. I'll be drinking bottom shelf Evan Williams (which isn't bad, really). But I'm going to get this done. One day at a time. One little dot at a time.

User Journal

Journal: Upgrading Ubuntu End Of Life 13.04 Raring Ringtail on a Sony Vaio 1 1

I bought a laptop a couple years ago. I don't know why, because I installed Ubuntu on it and then it sat unused for about three years until my girlfriend's laptop broke and I told her she could use mine. Having a Linux machine is like having an HP graphing calculator that uses RPN â" Awesome for you, but when someone asks to borrow it, they are utterly clueless. All she really needs it for is Internet (all anyone really needs computers for these days is Internet â" hence Chromebooks). So she can get by, but the thing is still on Raring Ringtail, which I came to find out is 3 versions old and End of Lifed. Which means upgrading isn't a snap. So I'm taking some time out of my Saturday to do that and document it here.

I will also take a minute to mention how much I fucking hate Ubuntu and the monstrosity of a desktop environment, Unity. Fuck the whole thing straight to hell. I have probably uttered the phrase "Fucking Ubuntu..." more times than I can enumerate. Now, I would have installed Debian, but a couple years ago when they first started coming out with UEFI, Ubuntu was about the only distro that handled installs with ease. I'm sure Debian has caught up by now, but I'm not willing to spend a whole weekend on this. Half of a day is all it's getting.

So here we go.

I'm following along with Ubuntu's guide, but I'll repeat the steps here as we all know how links tend to disappear years down the line: First of all, I didn't want to do everything with sudo, especially things I know I'm going to need to be doing as root, so I'm just going to

$ su -
su: Authentication failure

Goddamnit. Yet another thing to hate about Ubuntu. They treat their users like children (because most of their users are) and they don't even give them a root account. It's like the movies where the experienced guy gives the untrustworthy guy a gun but it's not loaded, and the idiot finds out later when he tries to shoot the experienced guy. Anyway, I'm an experienced guy, so I have to manually enable root.

$ sudo passwd root
Enter new UNIX password:
Retype new UNIX password:
passwd: password updated successfully

Now we can proceed.

$ su -

Update /etc/apt/sources.list

# vim /etc/apt/sources.list

## EOL upgrade sources.list
# Required
deb CODENAME main restricted universe multiverse
deb CODENAME-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb CODENAME-security main restricted universe multiverse
# Optional
deb CODENAME-backports main restricted universe multiverse

# apt-get update

You should also make sure some meta-packages are installed so the upgrade can continue without problems. Update-manager From version 6.06 and up you will need to install the update-manager and update-manager-core packages.

# apt-get install update-manager-core update-manager

Kernel This part takes a while, as the headers are pretty weighty.

sudo apt-get install linux-image-generic linux-headers-generic

Run the upgrade And then this part really takes a while, as you know.

# apt-get update
# apt-get dist-upgrade
# do-release-upgrade

Then do it it again. And again. Until you're caught up. Ugh, this takes forever.

User Journal

Journal: Eclipse: The Loathe of My Life

Eclipse is bad, man. And I'm not saying that because I used it once and didn't like it. I have used it daily for 5 years. I remember it being pretty decent somewhere around the Helios/Indigo era. But once Juno hit, everything fell apart it seems. I'm currently still sitting on Juno, with two versions gone by now, because while, yes it is fucked up, it is a known level of fucked up. I don't know how much worse they've made it since then.

For a while, I kept a list of everything wrong with (my) Eclipse:

- SVN commit sometimes gets stuck.
        - Solution: Sometimes cancelling it and trying again works. Sometimes you have to restart Eclipse.
- Red Problem error on POM file after updating shared component
        - Solution: Manually update project under Maven
- JiBX binding fails when any change is made to the component
        - This is due to the JiBX autobuild plugin being fucked up and having to disable it
        - Solution: Do a clean install every time
- JRebel reloads forever, but doesn't execute
        - Solution: Stop server, recompile, start again
- Closing when SVN locks up locks the whole app.
        - Solution: Kill w/ task manager. Start again.
- Error shows in IDE, compiles w/ manual MVN command
        - Solution: Delete Maven Persisted Library from build path
- Debugging / Changes/ JRebel reloading causes IDE to lock up.
        - Solution: Kill w/ task manager. Start again.
- Toolbar gone for no good reason
        - Solution: Window -> Hide Toolbar (Why is it not "Show Toolbar"???)
- Shows errors after updating Maven dependencies in text editor.
        - Solution: Restart Eclipse
- "Perspective Switch Job has encountered a problem" when debugging from Java perspective and it hits a breakpoint and tries to flip you over to Debug.
        - Solution: Restart Eclipse
- Save stops working (ctrl+s, or :w in Vrapper)
        - Solution: Close editor (it will ask if you want to save, so say yes) then restart Eclipse
- Deleting project leaves closed project folder in package explorer
        - Solution: Restart Eclipse
- Link with Editor stops working in Package Explorer
        - Solution: Restart Eclipse
- WSDL file giving warning: WS-I: A problem occured while running the WS-I WSDL conformance check: org.eclipse.wst.wsi.internal.analyzer.WSIAnalyzerException: null ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Nested exception is: java.lang.NullPointerException The WSDLAnalyzer was
  unable to validate the given WSDL File.
        - Solution: No idea. This is apparently a bug in WST or something.
- Parent project of a multi-module project shows as in error with "Import cannot be resolved"
        - Properties -> Project Facets -> Check Dynamic Web Module, Java, Javascript
- XSD shows as an error in project with "src-resolve: Cannot resolve the name 'xxx:whateverType' to a(n) 'type definition' component."
        - Solution: No idea.

Notice how most of the solutions end with "Restart Eclipse." Ugh. It's the new Windows.

Unfortunately, I can't use IntelliJ. As much as I love some of the things you can do with IntelliJ, I gotta have multi-module support. I don't work in a single module. I work in several at the same time. IntelliJ's limit on that is a deal breaker.

Anyway, I've been trying to clean up my workspace all day, which is proving to be a Sisyphian task. Screw this. I need to code. I'll just have to live with the false-alarm red-Xs and warnings. Just like I live with Eclipse. *fart noise*

User Journal

Journal: The Albatross and the Architect

I'm listening to Strikeforce: Diablo's the Albatross and the Architect, which I haven't thought about in years. It's probably been like, 8 or 9 years since I rocked this album. Back then, I was living in shitty out-west apartments, driving a Toyota Celica, playing in a band, in my sophomore year of college, breaking up with my longest-term girlfriend, and just starting what would become the job I am doing now. Little did I know, accepting that internship because I needed a job and cash would get me to the place I am now. And just where is that? Eagerly awaiting to hear if I will be selected as the systems architect for the company. Holy shit.

I'm sure that one of my interview questions for that internship was, "Where do you see yourself in 10 years." I don't remember what I said, but I doubt this was it. I have come far since then. Sometimes I wonder how the hell I did it. Especially when I'm spending my time listening to music and typing out a journal instead of, you know, working. But then I remember all the hard work I have done. All the late nights, long weekends. All the days and nights spent at the library studying for a calculus test, or ssh'd into Phoenix or Archos or whatever it was, hastily trying to get a C program to compile. The long nights spent teaching myself PHP and OpenBSD so I'd be ready when I started my first internship.

That's why I'm here, waiting for the word. It will be one of two responses.

"No. Sorry, we found someone more qualified. Wait a few more years and apply again."

This is a valid response, and I would accept it graciously. The role of Systems Architect is a huge - and I can't overstate that - HUGE responsibility. The company leans on you for technical advice. You don't get to lean on anyone else. You are the last domino. You either stand strong or everyone falls down. Certainly it would make my life easy, if not boring for the next few years. I would likely revert back to studying the market and trying to find success there.

"Yes. After all of our interviews, we have determined you are the best fit for this position. Congratulations!"

In this case, shit gets real. All the things mentioned above about the responsibility officially bears weight, and that weight sits on my shoulders. There are still so many things I don't know! Will I be called out for not being as smart as the other architects? Will I make bad choices? Will I say the wrong things? Will I disappoint my boss? Will I let the company down? I've been in this position before, but the stakes were so much lower. I was an intern, and what could they expect from an intern? I was a brand new employee, and what could they expect from a newbie? But now, I am not new. I've been around the block and a lot can (and should) be expected of me. Fuck up here, and there are serious consequences.

I've weighed all this. It is scary, yet it is a step I must at least attempt. Because without being a little scared (read: motivated), I might as well not even get out of bed.

But as of now, I'm still just waiting on one of those two responses. Will I be the architect, or will I wear the albatross? Time will tell.

User Journal

Journal: Things Are Looking Up!

After re-reading my last journal entry, man. This year has sucked. Shit was bleak. And it all culminated into a terrible, awful week. A got into CRNA school and I was so, so happy for her. But that was where the happy times ended. We went out to celebrate, but I had a feeling I should set up the dog cam, because I was worried that the dog had been barking when we'd leave again. No sooner had we got to the restaurant 3 blocks away than he started backing. I sprinted home to stop him, but that was it for our night. She finally made the decision to give up the dog.

It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, taking a dog we both loved to the Humane Society. Putting him behind the kennel and shutting it and looking at his sad, scared little face. I had to hold back the tears. But there was nothing else we could do. She had a hard time with it. She thought she could get something else fluffy, so she decided to get a bunny. That lasted about 2 days, before she realized she was deathly allergic to the hay it requires. So she told me to go set it free, which I for some reason, listened to her and did. A few hours later, we got a call from the Humane Society about our bunny being found. I was so fucking pissed off, both in that we clearly got caught, and in that I listened to her in the first place and let that poor bunny go in the park. Stupid. Thinking about that day just brings back so many angry feelings. We almost broke up over that.

And maybe a day later, we realized her cat was peeing on the carpet. I honestly didn't think I could take any more. Another trip to the Humane Society. Ugh. Shittiest. Week. Ever.

But you know what? Things are improving. She's still getting over the dog, I think, but all in all, everything has been so much better without him. Now we're free to go out, enjoy our night, not worry about if he's barking, or if we need to take him to doggy daycare. Plus, that's less money we have to spend. So yes, things are finally looking up. We've had good nights together again.

And just recently, I've learned that our architect is leaving, opening up his position. I want it. I talked to my boss' boss about it. He sounded interested in entertaining the idea. I don't have 10+ years of experience, but it's close. I know that if I were thrust into the position, feeling uncomfortable again would spur me to get better and learn more. I already feel half-way capable. Being shoehorned into an architect position would be just the inspiration I need to be interested in my job again.

I do fear that I'll be failing at the stock market if I do this, but that'll always be there and it's not even a guaranteed win. A promotion to architect would be a guaranteed win, as long as I didn't fuck up. Anyway, the job should be posting soon. We'll see how this goes...

User Journal

Journal: A Hardcore Trip Down Memory Lane

I think 2014 is going to go down as the year of nostalgia.

Earlier this year, I went through a project of documenting all the documentable days of my life. This means going as far back as any digital records I may have, as well as some paper documents and
whatever is left of my terrible memory and putting it in nice, concise calendar form. The furthest reaching digital documents I have detailing what I was doing at the time go back to June of 2004 in
the days when I first obtained Gmail. Sadly, my Hotmail emails dating back to the late 90s have all been wiped away. My old MySpace account which I did a lot of blogging on was deleted when Facebook became available to me in August of 2005. Writing this entry here reminds me I should probably dive back in to my Slashdot journals as they date back to June of 2004. Most of it is technobabble, but some of it is useful.

Anyway, point is, I have been documenting furiously. Reliving the past, good times and bad. And something I've noticed, nostalgia tends to kick in strongest when you're the least happy with your situation. I guess my situation has fallen into a rut of sorts. A terrible combination of being in a bland, barely-happy relationship, and having no real goals or interests to keep me going. I care a lot about my girlfriend, to the point of moving her in with me so she can focus on applying to CRNA school, and if she gets in, staying with me for free while she focuses on school. But in the process, I have been left feeling lonely and trapped. Not that I can't break up with her and move her out, but I see that as being cruel and dream-crushing toward her. And again, it's not that I
don't love her. It's more that we've grown into the typical habitual relationship format, where everything you do is automatic, including the fighting. Perhaps I could focus on breaking out of that rut, I don't know. And make no mistake, part of my nostalgia has been thinking back to when we first met. It was awesome. I guess I just want it to be like that again.

Ugh, that's not even what this journal was supposed to be about! I guess it's just stuff that's been rattling around in my brain and I haven't been able to tell anyone - yet another problem, all my friends have dried up - caught up in their own relationships and careers and problems. I guess this is what getting old is.

So, as I look back on everything, I am now reaching back to a more curious and innocent time. Back to 2004, when I worked for the co-op. I'm putting myself back into that mindset, at least for a day, to muster up some curiosity and whatever desire I have left to learn. Because I need to build a PhoneGap app. It's new territory for me, and I haven't had the interest in anything technology-related in a long time, so I'm hoping that by getting back in the mindset I had at my most curious, I can recapture my ability to learn things quickly. So I'm listening to music from ten years ago, I'm going to go eat a ham and cheese sandwich from Subway (a daily staple from that time) and I'm going to write in my Slashdot journal.

I will capture the curiosity again, and I will knock this project out of the park as usual. Because that's what I do, and though I may be getting old, this dog can still learn a new trick or two, with a little help from memory lane.

User Journal

Journal: Looking Back - Looking Forward

Looking back on my post from 2010, Life is Hard, I couldn't help but smile given what I know now, four years later. First of all, it's hard to believe it's been four years since I wrote that. Time has flown, partly for the better, partly for the worse. I'm no stranger to self-help/self-improvement. And since 2010, I've been writing out goals and plans for the year. Sometimes, you can't quite knock out a year's worth of resolutions in a year. So let's take a look back at 2010 and see where we are now.

  • Physical Appearance:
    • Diet - I am using to track my nutrition and my goal is to get down to 10% body fat. I have several other goals with how much weight I would like to lift. This is all with the end goal of being confident and attractive to women.

    • 2014 Me Says: You never made it to 10% body fat. Sorry, bro. But you did get down to about 15% twice, once in 2011, and once in 2012. Know what works? High intensity full body workouts, long runs, and sprints. Your workout needs to be around 45 minutes to an hour of pouring sweat. And stop tracking shit, it's just pedantic and distracting. Also? You'll never give up booze, so just toss that idea out the window.
    • Skin - Sunless tanner, tanning beds, or just sitting out in the sun. But I need to get some color on this skin. I also need to clear up my blackheads and big pores. It's not terrible, but it's an imperfection nonetheless.
    • 2014 Me Says: You don't tan and it doesn't matter. You could spray tan, but you know that is ridiculous, and the only way you actually tan is by getting burnt, which isn't healthy. And nobody gives a shit that you aren't tan. It's the midwest. People are used to pale motherfuckers
    • Hair - I'm changing my hair from the military spec haircut to something a little more edgy. I've always said I get most of my confidence from my hair. This should shoot confidence through the roof (if it works).
    • 2014 Me Says: Yeah, son! That haircut was BOSS! ...four years ago. Nah, I'm just playin', you rocked it. But now you're 31. Time to give up the ghost and accept your age. Not to say you have to look boring, just... more refined. Lucky for you, refined is still sexy. Unfortunately for you, you're hair is starting to thin. Goddamn stressful IT work.
    • Lips - If the peeling doesn't stop, I may need to find a product that will fix it.
    • 2014 Me Says: Dude, gross. But yeah, still a problem. Aquafor seems to work pretty well. We should probably use more of that.
    • Clothes - I don't have the money for new clothes, but I am going to start needing them. My thighs are outgrowing my jeans (squats, man, squats). Keeping an eye on the sales racks in Von Maur and Express should do the trick.
    • 2014 Me Says: Bro, you still don't have money for new clothes. And you haven't hit the squat rack in years. I think you were overestimating how swoll you were. It's just your jeans that were tight.


  • Finance:
    • Since won't track my small hometown bank, I need to do my own tracking on a Google Docs spreadsheet. Strict record keeping and adhearance to a budget should help me get my debts slowly paid off.
    • 2014 Brian Says: Did you not have spell check in 2010? Adherence. Sheesh. But also, Simple. Simple will save your life. Stop guessing what's in your bank account, or playing dumb because you just don't want to know. Simple is ah-mazing. Also, that spreadsheet? Keep that shit up. Simple is good for the immediate and near future, but that spreadsheet will let you plan out years in advance. But ya know what? Don't worry about anything. Get another credit card. Have fun. You deserve it. I'll pick up the tab, it's fine. Just go out and make me proud. (I know you will.)
  • Work:
    • The biggest problem at work is distractions. I need to find a way to focus. I'm currently typing this at work. This is not focus.
    • 2014 Me Says: Still not working, eh?
  • Girls:
    • I need to get out and continue meeting women. I've been slacking off in this area, so I need to get back into it. More to come on this.
    • 2014 Me Says:
    • Uhhh, dude. You went from having banged 12 girls by 2009, to 38 in 2012. That's a 216% increase in just two years! And the stories- Ohhh, the stories! But now you've got a super hot girlfriend and you're not sure which is better, having guaranteed sex with someone you love, or possible (but not guaranteed) sex with random strangers. The jury's still out on that one, but thankfully, you satisfied a lot of my curiosities.

Long Term Work Goals:

  • If I ever want to be a consultant, I need to start doing some small work. I need contacts. I NEED TO GET THIS MOVING.
  • 2014 Me Says: Psht, consulting is for the birds. We're going to go where the money is: the stock market!
  • I also need to start learning skills that people want. Like design. God I hate design. But I need to learn it. Without it, I'm only half a consultant.
  • 2014 Me Says: You still suck at design. You took some Code School classes and learned some good shit, but for the most part, you will never be a designer. Anyway, Fuck IT. STOCK MARKET!


  • I want to play music. I always have. I'm going to start booking shows around here and getting contacts. I need a demo as well. This must happen.
  • 2014 Me Says: So here's what happened: You recorded two E.P.s with Dan and they turned out ok (nothing Earth-shattering, mind you), but they're your voice and guitar on a digital recording, so good work. You also played in front of some decent crowds (and some tiny shitty ones too). It was mostly fun, until you got to the point where you played RAW artists and had to buy 20 tickets to meet your quota and had to beg people to come and, well... Let's just that like Justin Bieber, it's time to retire. Oh yeah, he's "retiring" this year. Whatever. But yeah, music will always be in your heart, just not on your resume.

So, that's been the last four years. Now I'd like to look ahead five years. I've got a five year plan, and it mostly revolves around finances. I've mentioned before, Operation: Heist, and Operation: Moneybags. Heist involved finding ways to get rich relatively quick. After exploring several flops, from affiliate marketing to writing a book, I believe I have found two ways: Sports betting and day trading penny stocks. If you laughed while reading that, I don't blame you. Most people who would say that would not have a plan. I am not most people, and I most certainly do have a plan. Here it is:

I'm still deeply in debt (thanks, 2010 Me) so getting that paid off is top priority. With a sizable bonus (will know in about three weeks) and a decent tax return, I should be able to knock off a card and a half of debt, and pay the rest down with snowball payments. This should be done by October. Then I need a cushion. Something to catch my fall should I find myself unemployed for three months. With next year's bonus/tax return, I should have that. Everything after that becomes capitol investments.

Now for the dirty details.

Sports Betting
I dabbled in sports betting briefly, thinking I could accurately predict the outcome of games. This didn't work so well. Good bye, $50 bankroll. You will be missed. But then I stumbled on Sports Profit System, a totally transparent tipping service. It is pricey. Their annual fee just went up to a grand. But consider that grand an initial investment fee. They turned around 41 units of profit last year. But units of profit is a silly number, because their bankroll method assumes you've put aside a set amount for the whole year and you just skim your profits when they come. It's a fine strategy, but I've modeled the data and here's what works better: You start with a set bankroll. Every time your winnings increase your bankroll, that's your new bankroll. So if you start with $10,000 and you are betting 2% ($200) and you win and now have $10,400 in your bank account, that's your new bankroll. Now your 2% bets become $208. And if you lose, you still bet based on the highest your bankroll has been. Also, you may wish to add money to your bankroll. You would only do this when you are at a new high. So if you are at $10,400 and want to add $600, you do it then. Now your bankroll is $11,000. If you follow their bets exactly, by the end of the year, you should be up anywhere from 50%-100%. Awesome investment.

Sure there are risks. They could under perform. But given that their business model is built on providing mostly winning bets, it is in their interest to perform. Also, the sports book could kick you off if you get too hot. Fair enough. I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Penny Stocks
I've dabbled in penny stocks before, taking a slight loss due to not having enough funds to play more stocks. That was through Peter Leeds. They're a decent site for longing undervalued penny stocks, but after torrenting the ridiculously expensive library of Timothy Sykes, I'm seeing there are far better ways to play penny stocks. Namely, short selling pump-and-dumps. I'm still a little uncomfortable with short selling, but I think in time, I'll start to like it. Some of his students have made $1 million in a few years. This is the goal. This is where it's at.

Penny stocks are known for their high risk/reward values, but you can turn the tables and increase your odds by following the rules. The biggest risk I see is that I won't be able to trade during work hours. That could be a problem. I come in at 9 AM, which is 10 AM EST, so that gives me a good half hour to get any morning trades in, and I can possibly check throughout the day, but it would be somewhat scary if I was trying to get out fast and had a meeting or something.

I anticipate being debt free in 2017, student loans and all. By 2019, I want to be able to work full time as a day trader, and by 2020, I want to be a millionaire. Simple enough, right?

So, 2020 Me, if you're still around (and Slashdot is still around for that matter), then let me know how I did. I hope I made you proud. And rich.

User Journal

Journal: Bandwidth Hog Found, and It's About to be Roasted on a Spit

For fuck's sake. After about six months of getting overage notifications from Cox and being completely baffled at what was causing it, I finally figured it out. My computer was a red herring. I had Splunk set up monitoring logs, usage, watching Wireshark to see what was going on with my packets. Nothing pointed to a crazy process sucking down fatty packets. Then I started watching the lights on my router. I noticed when I disabled my WiFi on my computer, the little "i" icon was still flashing like crazy along with port 1, which was my Google TV appliance. Hrmmmm....

Then I came across this:

Google Play Music is the culprit. I am going to try clearing the cache, uninstalling, re-installing, and rebooting. We'll see if that marks an improvement.

Sheesh. That was a ridiculously convoluted solution to a ridiculously annoying problem.

User Journal

Journal: SEO - The "S" Stands for Shit

In my last entry entitled Cox Can Throttle My Cock, I mentioned how Cox was throttling my internet. Well, it turns out, they may be within their rights to, because it seems as though there's a rogue data sucker somewhere on my machine. Looking at my data usage, it was off the charts. Something like 30 - 60 GB per day. I don't even think I can find 10 GB of crap to download per day, let alone 6 times that. So, I went away on vacation for a while and unplugged my machine to verify that usage went down to 0. It did, so that means it's something on my machine. This has been my first foray into Ubuntu, and I have to say, I have mixed emotions on it. On the one hand, I like that it is a widely used, often updated distro. On the other hand, Unity is a monstrosity worse than KDE. I understand there are distros which swap Unity out for XFCE, which I may look into. Some of the conventions used in Unity just make me feel like I've been sucking on Apple cock. Max/Min/Close buttons in the upper left. Task bar ONLY available on the left hand side. So many other awful conventions. Otherwise, it's mostly usable.

Bodhi was awful too. I ran with that on my older dev box for a while and determined it was just about worthless. It was just to buggy to trust. So, no. Still haven't found the perfect distro. Debian would be if it were just a little more up to date. I do miss it though.

Op: Heist has not made a lot of progress. I've been looking into various methods of making money, and most of it, unfortunately, requires that you have some to start with. Youtube partners, for instance, can make some decent money. But, that requires that you have some professional camera equipment, or at the very least, a good webcam. I don't even have that. Sound equipment would be preferable. Also, the ability to know how to use it. That could be learned, but you need the initial capitol to start. Penny stock trading is a solid idea, but that one obviously requires some investment capitol. The only viable extra income source I've found was Amazon Mechanical Turk. It's viable because you will actually get money from it, but it won't be much. I estimate I made far less than minimum wage doing surveys, writing articles for spam blogs, or assisting in experiments. The experience was largely positive, but honestly, when you're making $20/hr after tax with your real job, why take a menial job for less than $5/hr? I used the money to buy a few necessity items off of Amazon, but past that, I don't think it paid off. It did bring me to wondering what the articles I was writing was going off to be used for. So I saved all of my articles in Google Docs. I can search by a particular sentence and find out where it ended up.

Take a look at an example:

So I'm writing articles for that fat fuck who's probably making a ton off of it somehow. I can't, for the life of me, figure out how though. There's no advertising! What is he doing here? Building up "content" so it looks like there's something there? Possibly. I never got into all that SEO bullshit because it just looks so repulsive. On the other hand, maybe it is lucrative? I dunno.

Here's another one:

Yep, I wrote that. Apparently I'm helping sell some self-help bullshit. Ok. Anyway, I'm done with all that. These assholes can make their fortunes off of the backs of someone else. I have better things to do.

Right now I'm really interested in running a Spartan race. So I'm training up for that. And powering through at work. It's been a long haul of not doing anything interesting. I've either been rehashing old code to fix bugs, or we've been flogging a dead horse with bad requirements. Same story, different day. Looking forward to getting something new and exciting on my plate. Patience.

Finally, I will reiterate how is saving my life. I am finally able to see the reality of my finances. It's not pretty, but it's real. And that's what I need. Weddings are also ruining my life this year. I have 5 of them to go to, and I'm in 3. Fuck that nonsense.

Alright, I'm out. Work to do.

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955