Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday morning funnies

If you are not a fan of MadTV on the Fox network, you missed out on some of their funnier skits. "Ms. Swan" was one of the funniest characters ever created on TV and as memorable as Rosanna on early SNL, Mr. Robinson's Neighbourhood on later SNL or Fire Marshall Bill on In Living Colour. The character, a middle-aged Asian lady played on the known stereotypes of Asian culture in the western world but treated in a way that always had the so-called backward character coming out on top. If you can find more of "her" clips on the Internet, watch as many as you can.



Submitted by Downtown Jane

Jim accidentally dropped some cards on the floor. When he bent down under the table to pick them up, he noticed Bob's wife, Sue wasn't wearing any underwear under her dress! Shocked by this, Jim upon trying to sit back up again, hit his head on the table and emerged red-faced.

Later, Jim went to the kitchen to get some refreshments. Bob's wife followed and asked, "Did you see anything that you like under there?"

Surprised by her boldness, Jim admitted that, well indeed he did.

She said, "Well, you can have it but it will cost you $500."

After taking a minute or two to assess the financial and moral costs of this offer, Jim confirms that he is interested. Sue told him that since her husband Bob worked Friday afternoons and Jim didn't, Jim should be at her house around 2 p.m. Friday afternoon.

When Friday rolled around, Jim showed up at Bob's house at 2 p.m. sharp - and after paying Sue the agreed sum of $500 - they went to the bedroom and closed their transaction, as agreed. Jim quickly dressed and left.

As usual, Bob came home from work at 6 p.m. And upon arriving, asked his wife: "Did Jim come by the house this afternoon?"

With a lump in her throat Sue answered "Why yes, he did stop by for a few minutes this afternoon." Her heart nearly skipped a beat when her husband curtly asked, "And did he give you $500?"

Sue, using her best poker face, replied, "Well, yes, in fact he did give me $500."

Bob, with a satisfied look on his face, surprised his wife by saying, "He came by the office this morning and borrowed $500 from me. He promised he'd stop by our house this afternoon on his way home and pay me back."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

IT Tidbits - WoW Forums -> I played WoW, I became a terrorist (story!)

This is some story and there are multiple links to news stories to prove that it is true. I understand the need for security and caution but we really need to wonder where our world and our country is really headed. Anyhow, if nothing else, it is an interesting read and a word of caution for us fellow travellers.


WoW Forums -> I played WoW, I became a terrorist (story!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Only in Canada (and maybe only in Toronto)

Watching Breakfast Television this morning and yesterday morning, on location personality Jennifer Valentyne visited two distinctly different summer camps. Yesterday she was with the kids enjoying Former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Duane Ward's baseball camp and today she is with Former NHLer Brian Trottier for a hockey camp.

Baseball. Hockey. In the summer at the same time. Go figure.


Monday, August 27, 2007

IT Tidbits - Who needs Windows Home Server with Linux around?

Oh the choices we have with technology today. It is overwhelming to those of us who eat, sleep and breathe it daily so how are the general masses supposed to cope? Well, the same way they have for the last decade plus some will tell you; just follow the leader. And today's leader is Microsoft so they have the most to lose when people choose NOT to follow them. Sure, Apple is still a small player in the larger scheme of things but that could all change if Steve and company would only find a way to release the OS for those of us who choose to build our own. Imagine the day we can walk into FutureShop or BestBuy or Circuit City or Fry's or London Drugs and just go to the shelf to choose or own flavour of operating system BEFORE we choose which machine we want to take it home on. Alas, that is a bit of a ways off and back in reality, we have the mess we have today.

Anyhow, I work with Windows, and I like lots of things in Windows and that Windows does, but I like choice and I like power and Windows does not offer enough of that to compete with Linux and UNIX in those arenas. Linux though proves that too much choice is not necessarily a good thing either. Apple, on the other hand, illustrates that too restrictive a choice also breeds issues. So what do we do? We mix and match until such a time we find the appropriate balance.

In our home, the computers run Windows for the simple reason that I need it for my job and it is easier to conform when one has to be on-call for work. Our PVR machine used to run Snapstream's Beyond TV but too many bugs and crashes made me turn to Vista Ultimate and the upgraded built-in Media Center components.

Stop your wretching!

The biggest thing about Vista's MCE service is that it can record a show on ANY channel, remembers that it already recorded a particular show or that it is already set to record elsewhere and, super sweet since we have one, seamlessly connects with the Xbox 360 to stream those recorded shows to another location in the house. For us that means it records in the office and streams to the big screen in the living room. Naturally, this can include other video, and music, and Live TV and FM radio (if you have a tuner installed). Some things that Vista does not include from the start that you get in a commercial product like Snapstream's BTV is the ability to compress the recorded file into other formats, to stream video over the Internet, to remote control the settings via a webpage, and to include unlimited tuners (there is a hack to do this in MCE, email me if you want it).

If I can get Linux to do all of this, I would consider the switch. I cannot, so I will not. However, if I can create a media server that Vista can connect to and utilize making it seamless to access the files from the 360, I will heartily look forward to building it. Homogeneous networks are a thing of the past and we need to embrace the change that the winds have brought.


Who needs Windows Home Server with Linux around?: "Who needs Windows Home Server with Linux around?"

IT Tidbits - From The Magazine - Maximum PC

I am proudly a source of information for those less informed folks looking for an upgrade, a fix, a solution to virus woes or tips on how to do things or do them better and faster. Skibum will tell you though that my greatest joy comes from spending other people's money. If I cannot have the biggest, boldest and best, then dammit, someone I know will.

In those pursuits, it always helps to not only know what is currently on sale but what is coming down the pipe from the various manufacturers. MaximumPC (formerly BOOT magazine) is one of many sources I use as my go to guide for what's next (sorry for stealing your tagline WNBA). It is not an inexpensive hobby or task trying to keep up on EVERYTHING that plugs in. Now you can get some of that knowledge for free thanks to the kind folks at MaximumPC. I am not sure what crack party induced them to do this but, they now offer back issues online in PDF format (not all of them but enough to make it worth the trouble). I have downloaded all of them already even though I own all the magazines including the special edition cash grab ones. I find the information that useful.

Of note, you can currently buy the October issue in Chapters and other stores around the GTA while the online PDF is only at August. Hey, it is to be expected that they will not cut down on store and subscription sales by stupidly putting the current magazine online for free. Like Duh.

So, enjoy. I am waiting by the mailbox for the October issue. I am building a nice little toolkit fo hardware and software tools so I can be prepared for the next frantic email or phone call (like my Dad's this weekend that he has no sound).


From The Magazine - Maximum PC

Today's PSA (Public Service Announcement)

This is a new feature I am adding to my ever stagnant (at times) blog. This first addition is especially fitting as I and DW try to deal with something personal. If sharing this article at least prevents something happening in your home or to someone you know then the effort will not have been wasted.

The worse thing we can do in this modern age of 2007 is to be complacent, allow someone else to take care of the problem or to bury our heads in the sand. It's time, especially for us parents, to take back our society from those that would seek to disrupt or destroy it.

As a related note, today I saw a news article about Hulk Hogan's (WWE former wrestling champion) son being seriously injured in a car accident where her allegedly was driving too fast and crashed his vehicle. Now, all of us who like a little speed (drive a Maxima and tell me you don't want to push the limit) will tell you about an incident or a near miss. I am neither condoning speeding or railing against it like the sheep currently baying at the government to crackdown on everybody. I will say that a 17-year old kid, who in all likelihood never had more than a high school driving course (instead of a professional racing one) SHOULD NOT be driving a brand new Lamborghini six-figure vehicle. Kids of privilege will have better hoopdies than the rest of us but being wealthy does not make one more skilled. Get a grip people!

OK, so today's PSA is to bring a light to addictive behaviour (i.e. eating, smoking, drinking, Internet, speeding, sex, etc.). I found this article which outlines a few things and hopefully will prove helpful to those that need it.

Good luck and peace.

Monday's Funnies

Subject: Walmart Greeter

A very loud, unattractive, mean-acting woman walked into Wal-Mart with her two kids, yelling obscenities at them all the way through the entrance. The Wal-Mart Greeter said pleasantly "Good morning and welcome to Wal-Mart. Nice children you have there. Are they twins?"

The ugly woman stopped yelling long enough to say, "Hell no they ain't."

"The oldest one's 9 and the other one's 7. Why the hell would you think they're twins? Are you blind, or just stupid?"

"I'm neither blind nor stupid, Ma'am," replied the greeter. "I just couldn't believe you got laid twice. Have a good day and thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

You Tube Find

I found this while browsing Engadget's website. I thought you might enjoy it. Here is what they said:

Step off those treadmills OK GO, there's a new indie music video on YouTube ready to help us nerds locate our groove muscle. Spoon's "Don't You Evah" features the toxically cute Keepon dancing robot developed by Carnegie Mellon and Japan's National Institute of Communications Technology. Be sure to hang in 'til the end for the robot dance party which features Manoi, RB2000 and a Johnny Five wannabe getting tore-up from the floor-up in that mad servo style.

Pray for Peru

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people enduring the effects of that devastating 7.9 earthquake in Peru this morning. May there be strength with those tasked to find, rescue and recover those caught in nature's fury.

Thankfully, my friend's family is not near the epicenter so were not in danger; thousands more unfortunately cannot say the same. Stay tuned for information on how you can help those who need it.


Movie review - Bourne Ultimatum

OK, if you have not seen the first two movies, go spend either the twenty bucks to buy the DVD special pack they recently released or try to find a rental place or someone you know (not me) that has them. While you can watch the third installment easy enough without trouble, it is better to have the back story of the first two movies (plus they are damn good movies).

The Bourne Ultimatum continues with the story of Jason Bourne and his struggles to both regain his memory and to make the people trying to stop him from doing so pay for doing things they should not have (you thought I was going to spoil the previous movie for you...nope). He travels back and forth through various countries as he pieces together his life. While the formula is more or less the same as the first two movies, the stakes are higher for those he is hunting as their attempts to stop him keep failing and he keeps getting closer to the truth.

I won't give any details as you really need to see it for yourself but I will say this: the hand-to-hand combat scene in close quarters is worth the cost of admission alone. How they did this shot is beyond me and I hope when the DVD comes out, they show how they got this shot in full detail. It is probably the most realistic fight scene I have seen in movies ever; it is totally believable, especially when you see the aftermath of that fight.

If you like action, and you want a little more plausibility than Live Free, Die Hard (still a fave though), give this movie a shot.


IT tidbits - Torrents rule!

If you follow much techie stuff, you would have come across the term torrent or bittorrent. The first refers to the actual protocol and the latter is one example of the program that utilizes that protocol. Though, bittorrent is what started it all and could be used to refer to the protocol as well, the term torrent is preferred to keep it more generic as there are many clients that you can choose from today. My preferred client is utorrent on Windows machines and Azerus on the Mac (though utorrent is rumoured to be coming out with a Mac client, at which point I will switch). utorrent is a very small download (184kb I think) for a very full featured and quick torrent client. I like the way it organizes things and without fiddling with settings, it does the job as advertised.

To make the case for torrents (and no, not for just stealing movies, porn, TV and software), you need look no further than my experience this morning in the wee hours before dawn. I was working on the final touches of my father's system that I have unfortunately had for about a month in my office (my sister's is next). For some reason it refused to install the Windows updates that it had downloaded so I went to Autopatcher (a sysadmins best friend) to get the latest files. They are having some domain issues so it took a while to track down where the files where in alternate locations. I chose to try and download the actual file at Softpedia as I have used them before. It was going slowly and they did not seem to have the June update so I went off to a torrent tracker to get that one. Well, it used 32 trackers to download the file in one sixth the time fo the actual file download. In fact, I went and got the July update (the same one I was downloading from Softpedia) from another tracker while my current download was still only at 25 percent.

That's the power of this little protocol, and the reason why the music and movie and porn and software industry hates it so much. The ability to gather these files from multiple sources is immensely useful. When everyone is online and sharing the file, it makes "sharing" a very quick exercise. Just about anything can be found in a torrent if you look hard enough for it. We routinely download TV shows our PVR missed or we forget to set to tape. I know of friends who get still-in-theatre movies to watch, though I stay away from those because they tend to be crappy transfers and DW, TC and I love to go out to the cinema. Use the link above to get utorrent (or try the original Bittorrent) and use Isohunt or Mininova to get you started on looking up torrents.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Birthday TC!

Today is our daughter's 16th birthday. SIXTEENTH!!!!

You know the day will come and you try to prepare for it but it still is a shock that sixteen years have past since you brought life into this world to nurture and take care of. Sixteen is a bit of a special year for many reasons. In Ontario, it means you can officially get a learner's permit (called a G1 around these parts) to drive a car, you can officially have sex without persecution (except by my foot in your ass), you are that much closer to being able to vote, you can hold your own OHIP (health) card, you can volunteer, you can work a lot more jobs, you can even marry in some parts (ahem, remember the foot, right?).

Time is a funny animal as you cannot wait for the kids to grow up and then you are looking for where the time went when they do. TC is celebrating her birthday up at Pioneer Camp in Huntsville, ON. We sent her a fax to say happy birthday. We will be picking her up on Saturday to bring her home. Her actual birthday party, a Sweet Sixteen of sorts, will be held in September and we are working to make it a very enjoyable evening for her. She has had birthdays and birthday parties before but she recognizes the importance of this one and it is VERY important to her so that makes it important to us. Family and friends, besides her classmates, have been invited to share in this event as many people have been important and instrumental in her development to get to this point in life; some more than others and I would like to thank everyone for the part they have played past and present.

To our daughter, I simply want to say that you are a bright young lady with the world in front of you. Take the time to learn about the world before venturing out into it BUT do not be afraid to take those steps into those new adventures. Your path is shifting in the sand and you have time and many choices to make before choosing it. Be knowledgeable of the past but embrace the present and look forward to the future. The past has happened and serves as experience, foundation and knowledge. The present is your existence, your new experiences and what you build on. The future is unwritten and unknown and is yours to shape as you wish. Choose well and you will never have to worry about the little things in life. We will be there to help you with the little things so that you have the opportunity to tackle the larger, more important things in life. Your Mum and I wish you all the best in the world, health and happiness as you move on to this next stage in your young life. We love you and we miss you. See you soon.

Mum and Dad

Monday, August 13, 2007

I guess that says it all.

No good deed goes unpunished.
Clare Boothe Luce

I'll be the first to admit to you that I can be a bit of a curmudgeon and a bit of a hard ass at times. Part of it comes from my Trini roots (which I am very proud of), part of it is from my upbringing (which, with a few exceptions, I am also proud of) and part of it comes from my own experiences as I went off on my own until this point in time in my lifeline. I never apologize for the way I handle certain things and, especially when ti comes to children, I believe in the old ways. Yes that does include capital punishment, it does (to a certain extent) include be seen and not heard and speak when spoken to, but ultimately it all drills down to a simple concept: respect.

As I travel through my fortieth year, I still marvel at the language that some parents allow their children to freely use around them. As an adult, living in my own place, with child, second marriage, job, bills and all that life brings, I STILL would not freely cuss in front of my mother and father. I can disagree, I can say no, I can refuse to accept or do things they request but I don't and will never feel comfortable cursing in their presence. It is no longer fear because I can take both of them blindfolded. It is an internal mechanism that my upbringing nurtured into an infused level of respect for who they are.

I had a recent run-in with a family member who I have not seen a lot of. My mistake is thinking that she remembered who I was, was infused in her upbringing with that internal mechanism that said to her "respect above all". How mistaken I was to think this because her actions loudly said otherwise. She is a young adult now and as such is welcome to make her own choices, to disagree with others and follow her own path. That said, unlike some others in her age range that I deal with, she has lost the level of respect that I expect, nay demand, of family members several years my junior. Her younger siblings exhibit it so why does she not? I do not know and frankly for all the effort I have made in the past, I no longer care. Well, this post says otherwise but you know what I mean. When I confronted her message to me as one of disrespect, I expected her to defend her position as not being so and to continue the dialogue to work things out. Instead, she chose to do what she has been infused with: drop, roll and run away. I guess that works for her but it does not work for me. I drove four hours to the hospital she was born in the morning my own mother returned home from the hospital herself; I deserve some respect. Today, she chose to block me on facebook (AKA crackbook) instead of working things out like an adult.

I guess that says it all.


The return of the haiku

What is a haiku? Taken from a website found in a Google search it is defined there as follows:

A style of lyric poetry borrowed from the Japanese that typically presents an intense emotion or vivid image of nature, which, traditionally, is designed to lead to a spiritual insight. Haiku is a fixed poetic form, consisting of seventeen syllables organized into three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. Today, however, many poets vary the syllabic count in their haiku. See also fixed form.

Ignorant ex-wife.
Leave your number, we will call.
Remain stupid then.

Brand new Dell laptop.
Faster, more space, no writer.
Same Win shite, diff day.

Old comps, everywhere.
Clean up, ship out, time to go.
Want to buy one now?

Music, food for soul.
Bitrates, grating on the soul.
Can the two work well?

Got broadband last month.
No comp to surf worldwide web.
Online bill coming.

Sometimes it is the little things.

We went to TC's camp on the weekend unbeknown to her as we lied and said we were not coming up three consecutive. The reaction was far beyond what DW and I expected. We thought she may be excited, and surprised and may even shed a tear or two. What we got was a running, rampaging teenager that loudly proclaimed she was happy to see us, thanked us repeatedly for coming up and then CRIED. No, not teared-up, not weeped... she hugged and cried on us. It was genuine emotion and it was heartfelt and real. Combined with her friends telling us that she had a bout of homesickness earlier in the week ( and was really down), we had an image of a teenaged girl that missed her home and her family. It was one of the few times in her life we will be happy she was crying.

Now, I know some of you are wondering what the big deal about that is and I would wonder with you if I were not living the reality that I am in. Our family has been through a lot over the years and no one has gone through more than our little girl. She still has to deal with the programming, conditioning and wayward direction that was laughingly offered up by my ex-wife and her family. All we can do is continue to show her that life does not have to be that way. All we can do is continue to love her unconditionally, show her right from wrong, point her in the right direction, support her in the good and bad times and be there when she needs us most.

On Sunday, she needed us. Thankfully, on Sunday, we were able to be there.


Monday, August 06, 2007

optimus prime pc case

optimus prime pc case

Does anything more need to be said? I didn't think so.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Open Source and Microsoft Free

Open Source and Microsoft Free

I post this article partially because of personal interest int he care and feeding of all things Linux and UNIX. The other reason is because Famine has already expunged Micro$oft from all machines in his home that are used regularly. His work machines have also been wiped of the Redmond scourge and replaced with items that do not ask you the same question fifty times even though you already answered it the first time. Hmmm, makes one think that the Windows Operating System is a female entity, doesn't it? But, I digress.

Anyhow, with computers in general and, more specifically, computer parts like processors, memory and hard drives, there is no reason you could not either have a separate machine to try things out on, or to simply install a second hard drive (though I would personally install a removable drive kit if I were you) filled with open source goodness.

Go ahead, live a little. More importantly, live free!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

It's 4AM and I am haunted.

So, DW, TC and I were watching The Bourne Identity earlier this evening when TC got up to use the bathroom. We paused the DVD and I noticed it was 10:59PM; almost time for CityPulse at 11. I flipped over to the news to see what has happened in the world today. Man, sometimes you just want to remain ignorant. Where do I start? The Taliban threat to kill the innocent Koreans? How about the floods and wildfires in various parts of the world? Maybe the catastrophic bridge collapse in Minnesota sending lots of people headed home plunging into the Mississippi river? Going local, we have the guy wanted for nearly running down a cop as he was fleeing other cops in a high speed chase, or maybe the guy who got beaten up while handcuffed to the SUV he left his rottweiler inside in the sweltering heat and nearly killed it or maybe the continuing proceedings of the arrested terrorist suspects? Why did I turn on the news again?

As distasteful and sobering the news can be sometimes, it is our duty to know what is happening in the world. That said, I fell asleep before the end of it and so did TC so we never finished the movie. TC went to bed, and so did DW and I; for a while. While DW was sawing wood, I watched a couple of FoodTV shows and found myself wide awake so I decide to catch up on my soap (Y&R rules!), clear some space on the PVR and set up the armoire that was now going to be DW's desk in the office as well as a place for more machines for me. I still have some wires to run but that task is nearly done. Cleaning up this office is taking forever but I still have my father's machine to rebuild (he bugs me every 48hrs for it), a laptop to rebuild (two actually if I can find the damn parts in here), TC's machine to clean and rebuild and a couple of other items. I may rebuild my desktop as well since it is exhibiting some behaviours at times that will get a bullet in its brain if it keeps up. Oh yeah, I also have a Blue and White Mac tower to rebuild; DW recently acquired this for me so it is a hobby unit.

Add to that the reworking of our network, building the webpage for our secret project and general other things and there simply, again, is not enough time in the day. The end of the month will be bittersweet as I took the week off to spend time with TC before she goes back to school and to really get some work done in the house. It pains me to see the place much as it was when we moved in last December. I really need an uninterrupted month to do it right but life simply does not afford me that time. Ah well, I am sure a lot of you could say the same so I'll stop my belly-aching and get back to it.