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User Journal

Journal Journal: According to my records...

It has been well over a year since I looked at Slashdot.

I see that some of my friends are still writing journal entries. Want them to know I'm still alive. :-)

User Journal

Journal Journal: New job. 1

Well, I got a new job, started a few weeks ago.

It's for a local public utility. There are no shareholders and the customer base is captive. No competition from India, China, Argentina, and Malaysia. Power and water are pretty much recession-proof.

They believe in a good work-life balance. (Unlike the last job where the world "life" rarely entered the picture.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Guns, Garbage, and Language 1

Well, in two posts I managed to start fights over guns, garbage, and language.

Honestly, I didn't think that many people would get that interested in what I have to say. It still amazes me how many people, on a site that is supposed to be mainly occupied by "nerds," fail to present a rational argument. Or any argument, for that matter. Not that I am not guilty of the same, but the one-off anonymous cowards who are either blatantly prejudiced or just flat-out wrong has definitely not gone down. I like to believe that between my nonsense there are at least some reasonable rants.

I've since been modded every possible moderation option, and accused of most of them as well.

I don't think spurred this kind of discussion on Slashdot for years.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Name changing: a continuation 3

Regarding this discussion. The summary is that it's apparently almost impossible to change your name in Quebec, especially for customary reasons. This was supposedly instituted in order to further women's and children's rights.

tomhudson's last reply to me inexplicably brings up religion as if I was making some sort of religion-based argument for name changing. At what point do I present religion as the prime argument for allowing people to change their names?

Hell, I don't even limit it to the case of marriage in the discussion, that's just how it began. I think people should be able to change their name at any time for any reason whatsoever to any thing they want. Even to something patently offensive. They should be able to make that name legal.

There are many cases where one would want to change their names besides personal reasons or some custom. I can only imagine what the likes of Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan might have said or would say about not being able to escape from their "slave names." Or if little Adolph Hitler would like to get a new name, but the state says no you have to live with it.

Your name is part of your identity. It is wrong for anyone to tell you what it is or should be, and it is wrong to be forced to live with what your parents decided for you well before you were able to express your own identity.

It is just incomprehensible that the state will tell you "your name is what your parents said it is, and you have no recourse."

It is the worst assault a government can make against an individual -- an assault on your right to choose the immediate reference to who you are to the rest of the world: your name.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Moving data the easy way... 1

Well, today it was time to move data from one (EMC) storage array to another vendor (HDS). I have to say that Symantec/Veritas Volume Manager does in fact make it easy.

In short, to perform the move, initialize the LUNs from the new storage array into the existing disk group. Then execute the vxassist evacuate command to evacuate the data from the old disks. Once done, remove the old disks from the disk group.

I haven't kept up too much on developments Linux LVM or other volume management software since we use the Veritas products, so I don't know if any of the others approach this ease of migration. But VxVM has been able to do it for ages.

Every time I do it I think it's cool, and I haven't written a journal entry for a while, so why not write a JE about it while I wait for the 100 or so GB to move to the new array.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A good laugh 2

Front page Slashdot ad... for lingerie from Soma Intimates.

If they are targeting that ad at me... well, I got tired of messing up such purchases for my wife, so I gave up.

If they are targeting that ad at slashdot, then perhaps the algorithm is flawed...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Military Meets Recruiting Goals

The Washington Post writes that the military has met its recruiting goals for this year for the first time since the all-voluntary force. The military is citing economic factors as a reason that recruiting is up.

Some idiot will claim that George W. Bush engineered the recession in order to increase military recruiting for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 3... 2... 1...

User Journal

Journal Journal: New layout 2

The new layout completely sucks. The grays are harder to read on a large screen compared to the old format, and impossible to read on a small screen. The color scheme of the previous iteration also made it easy to scan today's updates quickly. When scrolling, the grays just blend together and slow me down.


Journal Journal: On the Proposed Oregon Mileage Tax 3

Well, it made it as a front-page story so I don't have to provide much of a summary of Gov. Ted "Big Brother" Kulongoski's proposed mileage tax on cars.

Briefly, he proposes replacing the gas tax with GPS tracking devices in new cars that will report the miles driven.

The ONLY reason I can think of to use GPS is to also enable tracking of the position and speed of the vehicle. If they just want to know how far it's been driven since the last fuel-up, there is this neat thing built in to the car already called an odometer. Sure, tire size and some other factors can make it slightly off, but it would probably work fine. If you really needed a double-check, there are these neat devices called accelerometers that can be used to determine the speed at which the vehicle is moving at any given time, and therefore be able to calculate mileage. Without tracking the position of your car.

If this becomes law, I predict the following immediate "neat ideas" and abuses will be proposed, with at least some of them becoming reality:

  • Law enforcement will be allowed to get information from the device. Since it will likely be activated by radio and transmit by radio, I am sure they will find a way to do so without a warrant.
  • Insurance companies will be allowed to get the information in order to surcharge you for driving in certain "risky" areas.
  • You will be charged more tax for driving on certain portions of the roadway.
  • You will be automatically cited for exceeding posted speed limits on any roadway. Think speed camera on steroids.
  • Someone will find a way to hack the tracking device in order to find out where you live, where you work, where you frequent, what your schedule is, etc. and use that information with criminal purposes.

Sure they say that it is only intended to track mileage, but how many other government projects have been abused?

In any case, the proposal is stupid for the following reasons:

  • It discourages the purchase and use of higher efficiency vehicles. So much for peak oil and energy independence that Democrats like Kulongoski like to preach. He's a hypocrite.
  • Along with that, people driving 6500-pound SUVs will pay the same tax per mile as someone driving a 3000-pound economy car. Road wear contributed by a vehicle is directly affected by weight and surface contact. Thus, the person driving the big SUV or pickup truck and towing a trailer will underpay for their contribution to wear on the road. At least with the gas tax, the bigger vehicle uses more fuel and will pay proportionally more tax.
  • Another "neat idea" - remedy the above by charging more per mile to people with the above vehicles.
  • The tax applies if you drive on private, unmaintained, forest service, etc. roads that the Oregon tax will not ever contribute to.
  • What happens if I fill up in Oregon, drive 1500 miles in other states, and return to Oregon? Does the next Oregon pump fill charge me for the 1300 miles I drove outside of Oregon?
  • Someone will find a way to cheat this. All I have to do is jam the signal from common points on my trips, and I will save money. For instance, there is about 1/2 mile of common roadway I take every time I leave my house, and every time I come back. If I can jam the signal for that part of the trip every time I go, the GPS will think I live at the intersection 1/2 mile from my house. I drive it at least twice a day, totaling at least 1 mile untracked per day. While it won't add up to much for me, it will certainly add up for people in rural areas.
  • The regular gas tax will still have to be in place perpetually, unless we plan on letting people from out-of-state or country use Oregon roads for free. So what is the benefit here?

Politicians like Kulongoski piss me off. They are proposing this because revenue from the gas tax has gone down due to higher efficiency vehicles and less people driving due to recent high gas prices. You'd think a Democrat like Kulongoski would be talking about how wonderful it is that we are becoming more environmentally friendly and less dependent on foreign oil. Instead he bitches about the revenue stream going away and dreams up a new lopsided tax that clearly will allow subsequent "neat ideas" and abuses. It's the same with the tobacco tax. One of the reasons always cited to raise it is it will cause people to quit. It does have this effect, and then they complain about the revenue being gone. Now, a simple solution to the gas tax revenue loss is to raise the tax. They have done this for cigarettes, but not for gas (the state gas tax has not been raised for decades). The reason? Raising taxes on the general populace (instead of smokers) is unpopular and the legislature is afraid to lose their seats for an unpopular move, no matter how necessary it may be.

I say this: If they truly believe that raising the tax is necessary for the common good, then they should just do it, their seats in the legislature be damned. This is proof that their priority is power and influence, and not the public good. Instead, they are a bunch of cowards. A legislator who truly wanted to serve the public good would do what he/she thought was right even if it meant the populace would be pissed off at first and it cost him/her their seat in the legislature.

If this proposal passes into law, I will move away from Oregon, taking my high wage (and therefore high income tax) with me.

Thoughts from anyone else?

[Edit: Fixed some spelling mistakes now that I have slept. I was evidently tired enough when writing this to ignore the red underline indicating my misspellings.]

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: Bah! Humbug! 3

Somebody had to say it. Might as well be me. :-)

The weather put a wrench in our normal plans to involving an annual trip to see family, so my wife, daughter, and I will be celebrating Christmas by ourselves. Having counted on being able to travel and do presents elsewhere, the house is almost undecorated and opening presents will take about 30 seconds. It's not exactly the kind of Christmas I want to give to my family. Normally we count on the fun Christmas atmosphere with relatives. Instead, I was scrambling yesterday to buy a tree and other such things that I hadn't planned on doing, as I at least wanted my wife and daughter to have something.

Then again, I am still employed, the house is warm, and we have plenty to eat, so perhaps not much "Bah! Humbug" in it after all.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sun Microsystems

Journal Journal: Halloween Treat: Solaris 10 10/08 (update 6) Released!

One of the joys of being a UNIX sysadmin has been working on Sun systems. While I run Linux on the desktop and have built a multitude of Linux systems that are in production today, I much prefer to stand up big Sun boxes with lots of SPARC CPUs running Solaris.

Today's release of Solaris 10 10/08 brings us ZFS boot and root, enhancements to zones/containers, and some other things. I am looking forward to blasting away the existing installation on my Sun workstation and installing this release.

It's a nice treat for Halloween.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Outsourcing: Rebadging and last day at the old employer

Today was my last day at my (now former) employer. Tomorrow is my first day as an employee of the outsourcing company. There's still no press release from either. In the earnings call this week the CFO said that my (now former) employer was outsourcing "some" IT services. In reality, they are only retaining some.

So my badge went from blue to yellow. I can't use the gym anymore (unless I pay). I can't get employee discounts. My unused PTO was paid out to me. The new employer does not accrue PTO, and has graciously granted me 2.5 days of PTO for the remainder of the year. Gee. Thanks.

I found out some news about where I fit in. I am something called a UNIX Integration Engineer or similar. My manager also went to the outsourcer, and I continue to report to him.

On Monday I am supposed to report to the same place, same time, and do the same thing I did today.

However, it will certainly be different.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Outsourcing: Hiring week 3

So, I received an offer from the outsourcer, as I expected. Same salary, no job description in the offer. One of my colleagues is getting laid off. My manager is going to the outsourcer as well.

This week was hiring week, where a manager from the outsourcer inspected my hiring paperwork (which took, literally, 3 hours to fill out and double-check on my part). Then, I was walked over to some HR rep from the outsourcer who also inspected my paperwork. Finally, I was walked over to have a lock of my hair snipped for a drug test.

The whole process was rather impersonal, and still leaves us all wondering what our future is.

Anyway, next step in the process appears to be the transition between October 31 - Nov 1 where I will be terminated from my current employer, starting work at the outsourcer. Presumably, I will be doing the same thing I was always doing and reporting to the same manager. Some people have a more interesting situation where their manager was laid off (lots of managers were let go) and they have no idea who they report to.

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