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Journal Journal: in which i am a noob all over again 17

I haven't posted a journal here in almost three years, because I couldn't find the button to start a new entry. ...yeah, it turns out that it's at the bottom of the page.

So... hi, Slashdot. I used to be really active here, but now I mostly lurk and read. I've missed you.

User Journal

Journal Journal: I still can't believe I'm this old. 12

I've been 35 for almost a month now. I'm working at a place with linux-only guys, who think that the best solution is always free software. I feel like the old unix dude with the suspenders who still reads a.s.r. I feel ancient, as I've worked with big iron, or at least medium iron since my first job, and the guys who work in the IT department here are used to virtualization on intel platforms (so, machines considered big for their time, but not SPARCs or RISC machines).

Benny pestered me incessantly about what I wanted for my birthday. I couldn't figure it out; I was (and still kind of am) on the dark side right now, about a 4 on my personal 1-10 depression scale. It doesn't affect my ability to work, but it numbs and dulls my senses. Like I should've been elated to get the job I have now (which is almost perfect), but I wasn't. I couldn't express that level of joy. I'm still not quite there, but I'm digging out of it slowly but surely. Anyway, the day before my birthday, I figured out what it was I wanted. I wanted a guitar and lessons.

We headed to Guitar Center and I found a decent guitar, and we walked out with a guitar, case, book, picks, and an extra set of strings. I called up the music store in Castle Rock (which is where I work, 17 minutes from where we live, just north of Sedalia), and started lessons last week. I suck, but I'm sucking less at it every day. I practice until my fingers are tender, as many days as I can actually get the time, and I figure that has to be good enough.

I don't want to be the next Joni Mitchell, or even Lisa Loeb. I just want to make music, in the way I still take photos because I want people to see what I see in the world.

If anyone is looking for a 6-month gig in the Castle Rock, CO area, let me know. I'm looking for a mini-me, who can help me get the alarms in line. Someone who groks windows servers and javascript, who has a decent grasp of monitoring and alarming (snmp and nms experience would be nice, but not necessary.) I'm currently putting people through the "Chris test" by having my boss interview them first, and looking for specific skills later.

User Journal

Journal Journal: 2 more weeks of hell. 8

I gave my notice for the contracting company. I'm going back into NMS with a passion that can't be denied.

Just 2 more weeks of waking up when other people are coming home from work.

Just 2 more weeks until I can take the dog to the dog park after work, or go to the normal park with her on her leash (we're right near Chatfield, and they have a great dog park, I've been told.

Just. 2. more. weeks.

User Journal

Journal Journal: THIS is why linux is not ready for primetime. 18

So Ben (el Husband) is building/has built a CNC router using Ubuntu and a couple of pieces of software, a CAD program (for which he paid), a CNC controller program (which I can't remember if it was free as in beer or not), a tiny motherboard, and a couple of other pieces of actual hardware for which he paid a decent amount of money (but not enough to justify actually buying a mill the size he needs). Motors, threaded rod, etc. If you want to see, he's got a video on youtube linked from the woodshop blog showing it in action.

We've had problems with ubuntu deciding to boot from the usb stick, partially because Ubuntu decided it didn't want to shut down properly, and corrupted libraries, and someone decided that certain useful utilities (say, fsck) didn't need to be statically linked, which made it rather unhappy to work with. Ubuntu has been reinstalled, and he's got a .dmg on his ibook (my old ibook which still runs, and well) that he keeps at the shop, as backup. Because he has to. He was trying to install some packages to make his life a little easier (his BACulator, new version of gcc, some other stuff) yesterday, and the automounter kept complaining about ... something. The error message was Linuxy, by which I mean wordy and not very useful. I got this email tonight:

1: The problem with the USB stick was that SOMEONE, decided that I MUST have a CDROM drive, and surely that CDROM drive would be my second drive, so they added a cdrom entry in fstab for /dev/sdb... So, every time I inserted the USB stick, the kernel tried to mount /dev/sdb, which it was told was a cdrom drive, so it tried to mount an iso 9660 FS, which of course the drive doesn't have. Commenting out the fstab line fixed the problem completely. Assholes.

2: The G-Code reference page has JAVASCRIPT that detects if the gcode-main.html is in the same doc base and sets all the links to point there if so, and to the linuxcnc server if not. So someone wrote a fairly complex bit of code just to make that work, then someone else decided to not include the main page with the distribution. Assholes!

As a programmer and a unix admin, he gets a little upset.

User Journal

Journal Journal: I blame Lysol for the antibacterial frenzy we're in now. 5

Especially after seeing the commercial they're running now. "Did you know that there are germs everywhere, including on the bottle of liquid soap?" Why yes, Lysol, I did. I knew there are germs on top of the soap dispenser. But you see, after I put my hand on top of the soap dispenser, soap is dispensed into my other hand and I WASH MY HANDS WITH SOAP. Holy crap, people. Unless you've got an automatic faucet, you probably pick more germs up from turning off your faucet than you would from the pump on the soap dispenser.

That word looks wrong. You know when you say or write something multiple times and it just looks wrong? The number '1' looks and sounds wrong at the end of my shift because I say it so much. Whatever. Back to my rant.

Lysol kills germs. That's fine. Except that telling people there are germs on their liquid soap bottle on the spot they use to dispense soap isn't really a useful observation. And really, there didn't need to be a 'fix' for that for consumers. Life wasn't meant to be lived in a sterile operating theater. it was meant to be lived alongside and in opposition to the rest of the living things that live around us.

Gah.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Romance is in the eye of the beholder... 8

So "that day" is coming up on Sunday. You know, February 14th. We normally don't celebrate with what you would call 'normal' gifts. Ben said he'd have gotten me 'flours' but he didn't want to go to Whole Foods. He was going to get some white, wheat and rye, and some yeast, and it would be a bouquet of flours. I'd have loved that.

But no, what he did was awesomer. He bought me a decent point-n-shoot, which I've been wanting for a while now, and a microwave (because our last one was sold with the house -- it was mounted over the stove), and three paperback novels. I've been wanting to read "Stupid reading" for a little while now, too. You know, the kind of thing you read when you just want to read something. Mysteries, mostly. He got me a Jonathan Kellerman and a Dean Koontz Odd Thomas book, and an Iris Schrier, I believe. Those were the sweetest gifts he could've gotten for me. Not anything sentimental, not something that will be dead in a week. Something useful and something I've been wanting, actually wanting.

I'm not recommending that everyone get their SO a microwave and a camera and three paperbacks. Or that you get them Chick-fil-a and leave it in the car clipped to their badge for them to take to work. But they were the perfect thing, and the most romantic thing (for me) that could happen on or around v-day.

I'm obviously easily impressed, though. :P

User Journal

Journal Journal: Mumble mumble something. 3

This week has kinda sucked for me sleepwise. I was up until 2pm on Sunday and Monday, as we were looking for places to rent and moving into the one we liked. For normal sleepers, this is staying up from 6am one day until 4am the next day. Two days in a row. I got maybe 8 hours sleep between the two days (or I guess three days, if you want to look at it that way).

But!

We got a cute place in Sedalia, CO. It's on a guy's HUUUGE tract of land (he has a polo field on it. and the horses to go with that.) and is a small house, but we've met our neighbors, well.. one of them. She's a spinner and a weaver (which is cool), and she and her husband have 4 rather large dogs. Nulla played a little with them, but she's not allowed off her little cable because, well, she's a shiba. Shibas are notorious for deciding to run and run and run and laugh at you when you call them. She zipped out the door when we were staying with a friend and into the busy road (2 lanes each way with a median) -- Wadsworth around 470 for those of you in/near denver.

We spent Monday digging through boxes looking for the &^#*@ remote to the bed -- It's a sleep number bed, which we've had absolutely zero issues with, which seems to be the exception, as I've seen many many bad reviews online. Our stuff is in storage in the springs, which makes it kind of irritating to get our stuff, but whatever. We won't be taking a whole lot out of storage, as the house is only about 700-ish square feet, but we got Benny's big chair, and the bed, and the dining room table. We picked up a few boxes of kitchen stuff, but this'll be one of those long drawn out things where we pick things up piecemeal. There's not going to be much time to set up housekeeping this week, since I'm working and then we're headed down to the ranch to build skeinwinders on Sunday. It'll be interesting to see if Ben installs the shower before we leave... the landlord bought the shower and is paying Ben to install it, but we'll definitely benefit from that, since what's in the bathroom now is a claw-foot tub with a shower sprayer (and no shower curtain) which makes a HUGE mess. We've been un-synchronized sleepwise because of the moving and the going-to-home-depot-with-the-landlord, and will probably stay un-synched for another week or so while he does things like get firewood from the guy down the road, and working at the ranch. It sucks, but you do what you can.

User Journal

Journal Journal: I have people skills! 1

All I can think tonight is

Well-well look. I already told you: I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?

but maybe that's because I've seen office space too many times.

User Journal

Journal Journal: So, um... 2

Part of why I've been away is Ravelry. If you're not a knitter/crocheter/spinner/weaver/dyer, you've probably never heard of it. It's a pretty nifty site, and one of the things it has is forums. In spades, but that's beyond the point. The forums were designed by someone who didn't really participate in forums previously, so they are more or less flat, no nesting comments (but you can get to replied-to posts appearing via magic by clicking). The cool thing about them is that under each post are "buttons". They're labelled "educational" "interesting" "funny" "agree" "disagree" and "love". The concept is that you click on a button for a post and it increments a counter. Only one click per person. This makes it so you don't get a page or three of "me too"s, and you can generally judge the quality of a post by the agree/disagree ratio. Of course, with the buttons, there is the inevitable button wank, which the coder has tried to get around by allowing you to hide individual buttons, or all of the buttons. My problem with this is that I keep looking for buttons on posts on other forums. And blogs. And everywhere else.

It's like moderating, but everyone has points all the time.

So, work. Work is... well, it's like everywhere else I've worked in that they have too many tools that kinda mostly but not all the time work together. It's a 12 hour shift, which mostly sucks, but I'm getting used to it, oddly enough. Something about it not being full daylight makes it somewhat easier to sleep. I'm keeping myself entertained by tracking ticket stats, as we have to announce in a group chat who's taking care of which ticket. The 'newbies' -- me and my 3 same-day-training-started compatriots are kicking the asses of the contractors who were here before. Usually outclassing them by 2-3x. I'm keeping my resume out, and looking for something else, but the pay's decent.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ok, WTF. 21

I must be gettin' old if I can't figure out how to write in my own frickin' journal.

I know it's been... almost 3 years since I showed my text here. Let's see if I can catch y'all up.

About the time I stopped journaling, the company for which I was working cracked down on communications about the company. Feb 08 I left the company's warm embrace as they hired a "15-year windows admin" instead of either me or my co-worker who used to work for SUN to be a Solaris admin. The hubster and I were working on our business as the economy spiraled into the toilet. Short sale of the house, bought 70 acres near Rye, CO. Went to Sock Summit as vendors.

Now I'm working as a contractor at a company in north Denver. I'm going to refuse to mention which contract company or which company I'm contracted to, because I'm somewhat unimpressed by the actual work. I will mention that I hate interviewing, and I'm not cheerful enough for Apple retail. Or something. I don't know. I think I failed when I told them my "wow" moment with my mac was when I opened the terminal and found a fully functioning UNIX underneath.

Anyway, working with tech has re-kindles my sheer loathing of poorly implemented and documented tech and I thought this would be a good place to vent my rage somewhat.

XOXO
--the one and only kshgoddess.

User Journal

Journal Journal: a return which is long overdue (plus achievements!) 17

I've lurked at /. without posting for ages, mostly because I just don't have the time to interact like I used to.

But I've been clicking through the old RSS feed more and more lately, and when I saw the PAX Plague thread today, I came over to comment, since I'm kind of affected by the whole damn thing. I thought I'd take a look around since I haven't been here in awhile, and I saw that there are freaking ACHIEVEMENTS associated with our accounts. It's silly, and I'm sure it's been here forever, but I thought it was awesome and I was delighted when I read it.

I didn't realize how much I missed Slashdot until I spent some time here today, and I bet that anyone who joined in the last 2 years doesn't even give a shit about my stupid comments or anything, but it felt good to come back here, and feel safely among my people again.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Announcing the release of my new book 22

This feels like a mega-spam entry, and I'm very self conscious about posting it, but I'm excited about this and I wanted to share . . .

I just published my third book, The Happiest Days of Our Lives. I mention it here because it's all about growing up in the 70s, and coming of age in the 80s as part of the D&D/BBS/video game/Star Wars figures generation, and I think a lot of Slashdot readers will relate to the stories in it.

I published a few of the stories on my blog, including Blue Light Special. It's about the greatest challenge a ten year-old could face in 1982: save his allowance, or buy Star Wars figures?

After our corduroy pants and collared shirts and Trapper Keepers and economy packs of pencils and wide-ruled paper were piled up in our cart, our mom took our three year-old sister with her to the make-up department to get shampoo and whatever moms buy in the make-up department, and my brother and I were allowed to go to the toy department.

"Can I spend my allowance?" I said.

"If that's what you want to do," my mom said, another entry in a long string of unsuccessful passive/aggressive attempts to encourage me to save my money for . . . things you save money for, I guess. It was a concept that was entirely alien to me at nine years old.

"Keep an eye on Jeremy," she said.

"Okay," I said. As long as Jeremy stood right at my side and didn't bother me while I shopped, and as long as he didn't want to look at anything of his own, it wouldn't be a problem.

I held my brother's hand as we tried to walk, but ended up running, across the store, past a flashing blue light special, to the toy department. Once there, we wove our way past the bicycles and board games until we got to the best aisle in the world: the one with the Star Wars figures.

I'm really proud of this book, and the initial feedback on it has been overwhelmingly positive. I've been reluctant to mention it here, because of the spam issue, but I honestly do think my stories will appeal to Slashdotters.

After the disaster with O'Reilly on Just A Geek, I've decided to try this one entirely on my own, so I'm responsible for the publicity, the marketing, the shipping, and . . . well, everything. If this one fails, it will be because of me, not because a marketing department insisted on marketing it as something it's not.

Of course, I hope I can claim the same responsibility if (when?) it finds its audience . . . which would be awesome.

Supercomputing

Journal Journal: i need a new computer - advice? 29

Simple tasks like switching between Firefox and Thunderbird are driving the load on my machine up over 4, and if I'm trying to run Amarok at the same time, it drives it up to 8. In fact, my machine frequently climbs up into the 7-9 range, bringing my apps to a crawl and frustrating the hell out of me.

So I've decided it's time to buy a new computer. I'm going to replace my aging Sony Vaio desktop machine (which runs Linux) with something newer that has more RAM, a faster processor, and a bigger hard drive.

The thing is, I'm not entirely sure where to start looking. A quick walk through Circuit City a month or so ago lead me to believe I can get a rather "big" computer for as low as five hundred bucks, which further leads me to believe that if I were to buy something online, I can get a huge pile of RAM, a fast processor, and a big honkin' hard drive for even less.

I run Kubuntu, and use KDE as my desktop (though I occasionally switch to Gnome when I get bored) and I mostly use Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice.org, Amarok, and run PokerStars in wine. I'm looking for something that can do all of that without slowing my machine to a crawl.

Anyone have any suggestions on where to start looking?

Edit: I don't think I have the patience to build my own machine out of individual parts. I also don't have any real loyalty to any particular company or architecture. New Egg has lots of machines with AMD processors, and though I've always had Intel processors because more things seemed to run on x86, that's not as much of an issue as it once was, right?

User Journal

Journal Journal: MOTHERFUCKER. 2

So, a friend of mine is opening her business tomorrow at the upscale swanky Shops at Briargate (other businesses in the "mall" include Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Eddie Bauer, Coldwater Creek, Sharper Image, etc.) and I just finished uploading her website. No, you may not see it, as it is ... sigh. Let me set the stage.

First, she wants me to use iWeb, which my lappy nor Ben's mini came with, and we go through the whole order-deliver-install thing. I start using it, and want to shoot someone. I tear at my clothing, grit my teeth, and do a passable job using the damned thing, and voila (not wallah, people, really, omg, i'm going to strangle the next person who posts "wallah, my thing that I was knitting is done" ... but I digress) I've got a couple of pages of stuff to post.

I have no descriptions of what things are, but I have some idea of what SOME things are because we had them in our house and photographed them. I have NO clue what the model at her Denver photo shoot is wearing, nor how to describe them, and I got those LAST NIGHT, and the frickin' grand opening is TOMORROW.

So, I asked (sometime last week) for the user/pass to upload the *&(*$@#^&* that iWeb spits out, and got that, yes, LAST NIGHT. But not really. I got some sort of "Account Executive" privilages to the site, but can't figure out for the life of me how to actually PUT DATA to the frickin' thing. She gave me her credentials this morning (which have nothing to do with any sort of user/pass anywhere else), and we'll figure the damned thing out later.

Sigh. So, I put some of her 'model shoot' pix into the site while I tried to figure out what the hell was going on with the "account executive" shit and really, iWeb generates probably the worst code and worst data structure I've seen in a while... but then again, the last WYSIWYG HTML editor I used was FrontPage, EONS ago, so there's my comparison. Actually, I used DreamWeaver once, and remember it being somewhat awful, but this was before Y2k, and I've generally done everything by hand since.

I'm going to be using one of my weekend days rebuilding the site in GoLive, tagging the things that she should be able to change easily (products, featured products, front page photos, etc.), and giving her the "client version". This will let me do things like ... have VARIABLE length/width pages with variable block lengths. It will let me create a BLANK FUCKING PAGE WITHOUT HAVING TO HAVE A TEMPLATE. Even iWeb's "blank" pages have shit on them. It makes me want to scream.

I uploaded all eleventyhundred subdirectories this morning, and the site's up and more or less usable, but with iWeb's directory within a directory structure, its fixed size everythings, and pictures as backgrounds to its fixed-size blocks of text and crap. I understand wanting to have a fixed size whatever due to css concerns, but damnit if I don't want to shoot someone after trying to figure out why the fricking page won't scroll, and my data's being cut off. After finding the Inspector, I was more or less ok with it, but still am relishing being able to dump iWeb into the trash can, and hearing the paper-crinkle of its bits being "recycled".

Stupid iWeb. Stupid Hosting people. Stupid Fetch (which I thought I still had a few days of trial left, but had to buy so I could post). Stupid friend not giving me enough data to actually work with.

I'm going to work out now; my frustrat-o-meter's getting too high. I think an hour of walking nowhere, uphill, both ways, will let me go to work without wanting to kill my co-workers the second I see them.

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