June 2004


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Archive for June, 2004

Firefox 0.9 is out!

Posted in Geekery on June 16th, 2004

That was pretty quick – the folks over at the Mozilla Foundation decided the 0.9 pre-release only needed minor tweaking, because they posted the full 0.9 release not too long ago.

New for this version is a handy profile importer that correctly imported all of my bookmarks and saved passwords with no fuss and an updated default theme. Getting a new theme and extensions was quick and easy, much more streamlined than last time around.

They’re claiming a 3% speed increase, but I’m not alert enough to measure that small a chunk of time. It seems quicker, though, as I mess around with it. Don’t take my word for it folks – go get it and try it for yourself.

Happy surfing!

Just for the halibut…

Posted in Humor on June 15th, 2004

For no good reason (but several silly ones), here’s Lilith’s Speed-Dating Quiz, in the tradition of the original posted here.

1.) What kind of relationship are you looking for? Long term or Casual? Poly or Monogamous? Kinky or Vanilla?
Casual, Poly, vanilla with kinky sprinkles on top.

2.) Favorite authors?
Harlan ellison, Robert Heinlein, Spider Robinson, David Weber…the list goes on.

3.) How involved are you in sports, as either a participant or a spectator?
Not at all. They bore me silly usually.

4.) Do you have a moral or personal opposition to eating veal or other red meat?
Founding member of People for Eating Tasty Animals.

5.) How private are you – would it drive you batty if I blogged about a conversation we had or something you did that I thought was sexy?
Blog all you want, but if I do something wrong, you have to wait until after we work it out, and write about the solution as well.

6.) What is the difference, to you, between lying by stating a falsehood and lying by omission?
Lying by omission is usually defined as witholding information from someone either to avoid implicating oneself, or to save someone else the pain of knowledge. Best avoided whenever possible.

7.) If a fairy godmother gave you the choice of any material item with price being no object, on the condition you couldn’t sell it or give it away, what would you choose?
How about the Mirage Casino in Las Vegas? Talk about the gift that keeps on giving…

8.) What type of pet do you have or would you choose?

9.) What is your criteria for choosing to become sexual with someone, and what are your sexual deal-breakers?
Combination of mental and physical stimulation usually, but there have been instances of chemistry gone awry. Deal breakers include lying, drug use, manipulation and unsafe sex practices.

10.) Religion, spirituality, or both?
Maybe a little spiritual, but not serious about it.

11.) What are a few of your biggest pet peeves?
People who sit around and whine about stuff without taking steps to fix it. If you want to bitch, you have to try to change it. I also have issues with people who simply don’t bother to take the time to educate themselves about their daily life, expecting someone else to lead them through safely or otherwise watch over them. The kinda people who need the warning labels on household goods, like “coffee will be hot”.

12.) Describe what “family” means to you.
“family” (lower-case ‘f’) are those folks who happen to be genetically related to me. “Family” (capital ‘F’) are those people whose opinions I value and trust beyond the point of friendship, the ones I can count on no matter what. I’m lucky in that I can include a large number of the former in with the latter.

13.) What would entice you to move out of the immediate area?
Nothing. I’ve seen enough of the country to know I don’t want to live anywhere else.

14.) Favorite musical artists?
Danny Elfman, Rush, Led Zepplin, there are many more.

15.) What are your passions, the serious and the silly?
Learning. Life is an education, and it is my duty to get as much out of it as I can. I suppose the silly side would have to be just goofing off in general. Who says growing up means you have to stop playing?

Must be my lucky week

Posted in Work on June 15th, 2004

Well, that work-from-home tech support company finally got around to calling me back for a phone interview, and that one went pretty smoothly too. They shot several situations at me and liked the way I handled things, so I think I can expect an offer from them. I did ask about their call averages, and they say 3 to 6 billable hours a day is common, which means that I could make a decent living doing this on it’s own, plus whatever biz I can drum up for my own company.

Maybe I should go buy a lotto ticket…

Gee, that didn’t take long

Posted in Work on June 15th, 2004

Just got back from my first interview since being laid off back in March. The interviewer is a fairly large corporation doing a bunch of computer stuff, from basic repairs to full builds, with educational and government supply contracts. (At least I know they’ll be around for a while.)

The interview went well, but it was pretty short. More of a preliminary interview to see whether or not they should keep my resume for round two. I’ve said before that I have been hired every time I’ve been interviewed, but I think this time I have only gotten myself the second interview.

Here’s hoping!

Tax credit for IT training!

Posted in Geekery on June 14th, 2004

CompTIA Press Room – News has this to say:

Washington, DC, May 20, 2004 – At a Capitol Hill briefing hosted by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) today, CompTIA hailed US House introduction of the TRAIN Act by Representative Jerry Weller (R-IL) and other congressional leaders. According to CompTIA, the bill will facilitate greater training and re-skilling opportunities through a tax credit for qualified information and communications technology (ICT) training, helping American workers and the companies that employ them stay more competitive here and abroad.

It needs our help to pass, folks – contact you local representatives and urge them to pass this.

Because everything’s better in the dark

Posted in Geekery on June 14th, 2004

Well,after many months of procrastinating, I finally went down to the store and bought myself a little birthday present with the fundage my old man sent me: one of those illuminated keyboards.

Specifically, the Zippy Technologies EL-715 I chose the black frame, and I’m fairly impressed with it so far. It’s what passes for daylight up here in Portland right now, (IE, overcast) so there’s still some light creeping in through the blinds, but I am happily typing now without turning on the overhead light so I can see the keyboard. (If you haven’t figured this out, I cannot touch-type to save my life.) This should reduce some of the eyestrain I have been getting lately while spending so much time at the keyboard hunting for work.

Functionally, there is no tricky software for the keyboard, and the keys are a scissors-type, much like that of a laptop. It is quiet, but still has good tactile and auditory feedback on each keypress. There are a couple of things I would change about it if possible: first, the frame of the keyboard comes up a little high in front, so if you’re like me and tend to hit the spacebar with the sideof your thumb, it can get in the way. Second, the last keyboard I had was laid out a little differently than this one, so I am apt to make some mistakes until I learn the new layout. Nothing big here, folks, just me being picky. But not picky enough to go back to the other keyboard.

Conclusion: a good buy, especially for us cave-dwellers who hate the light of day.

Wanted: Decent Job

Posted in Work on June 14th, 2004

Since I haven’t been getting as much traffic as I’d like to see on the job-hunting side of things lately, I think I’ll take a moment for some shameless self-promotion.

I call myself the Techie From Hell. This is mainly due to my ability to troubleshoot my way through a problem and come to a solution of some sort or another, usually a good one. Much like the Marines, I analyze, adapt and overcome obstacles in my path. I learn quickly and broadly – I often am able to learn enough about my co-worker’s jobs to take over in a pinch, or to speed up my own work by eliminating steps.

I have work experience in the following areas:

  • CATV / High-Speed Data / Telephone operations from the distribution plant to the customer.
  • Computer networking over LAN, WAN, ATM, ISDN, POTS, DSL, Cable modem, and Satellite.
  • Computer repair, configuration and troubleshooting.
  • All Microsoft Operating Systems, most Microsoft software suites, Linux (several distributions) and some Mac OS X familiarity.
  • Electronics repair, including surface-mount technology (SMT).
  • Project management.
  • Employee hiring, training and discipline.
  • Customer relations.

If any of that sounds good to you, I am looking for an entry- to mid-level job somewhere in the IT industry, but I’m really not being that picky at the moment. Serious email inquiries will be sent a copy of my resume; spammers trying to sell me something will be persecuted to the best of my ability to hound them to the ends of the earth.

Thank you for your time. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blogging.

Weekend Update

Posted in Life on June 13th, 2004

Well, that was mostly a bust.

Went to the Kriegstreiber Tournament this weekend out at Milo McIver state park. A pretty small event, it only attracted 4 or 5 merchants, and not enough cars to fill the parking lot, despite the Royal presence.

Friday was a quiet night, since we arrived after 8pm, and it was just the four of us in the Fabritzio camp, quite a small turnout for us.

Saturday’s weather couldn’t decide what to do with itself. The morning started overcast, then the sun came out for a couple hours, so we went wandering around to see what was out there. Like I said above, not much. It wasn’t long before I was forcibly reminded of the opportunistic drives of plant life: we had had enough sun for everything around us to send off about a billion spores of pollen, and my allergies hit me full force.

Later on that evening, we found ourselves huddled up in our cloaks playing Gin Rummy as the lightenss behind the clouds faded (AKA the sun set), we realized there were much better things we could be doing elsewhere, rather than shivering in the dark playing cards. An hour later, we were on the road home.

That’s the benefit of a local event, I suppose.

The death of radio?

Posted in Media on June 11th, 2004

The HoustonChronicle.com reports that the record industries have finally found a way to resurrect the payolla scandals of early Rock & Roll.

In a strange twist, it seems that it was the radio station’s idea this time around. We know it is illegal to pay a station to play a song on it’s own; however, if they play it as an advertisment ( “And now, Avril Lavigne’s Don’t Tell Me, presented by Arista Records.”) it is perfectly legal.

The upshot of this is that it completely invalidates the Top 40 charts, since they only count the number of times a song is played. This method, even though it’s paid for, counts as a play. With the amount of late-night and early-morning airtime available at low rates, this allows record companies to seriously skew a song’s rating using ad-plays.

Just one more reason the music industry sucks.

You want my opinion? Go check out GarageBand.Com and hear some new music from small bands for free.

Linux star Torvalds moving to Portland

Posted in Geekery on June 10th, 2004

Oregon Live has good news for all us Linux geeks out here. We’ve had the OSDL for a while now, and Linus has finally decided to come supervise things himself, and to get out of the insanity that is the Silicon Valley.

Everybody’s favorite quote from the article:

“The plan was to try to acclimatize and have time to grow webbed feet (although I’m told there are implants available) by moving during the summer,” he [Torvalds] wrote.