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I arrived in Australia for the first (and last) time on September 11th, 2001.

Of course, since Sydney is about 16 hours ahead of NYC, I went through the whole day blissfully ignorant of what was to come. The whole nightmare started around 11PM that night in Sydney, right around the time I went to bed.

My wife didn't know the hotel I was staying in, so she couldn't reach me to tell me about what was going on. I got up around 7am Sydney time on September 12th, and turned on the TV, and sat with my mouth hanging open, stunned at what I was seeing.

I was scheduled for a short trip in Sydney, then was to go to Hawaii to spend a week with my then seven months pregnant wife. She got there on time, I was delayed a day. We had a lovely vacation.
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Those of you who follow me on twitter may have noticed that the family took a trip across the country, and I posted about once a day about the trip. We drove about 4250 miles over about 16 days. Went from California to Iowa, spending nights in Nevada, Utah, and Nebraska on the way. Then, went to Minnesota, did a festival in Decorah, IA. Visited my father-in-law and his brother in Red Wing, Minnesota; Maiden Rock, Wisconsin; and LaCrosse, Wisconsin. During the trip, we decided that we had a chance to see parts of the country we had never seen before - so we went back through South Dakota (saw Mount Rushmore and some of the Black Hills area) and Wyoming (drove through Yellowstone and saw Old Faithful).

The kids were overall pretty good during the trip. I can't say that they really enjoyed it, since all the sitting in the car was quite boring for them. They started wanting to see the "Bee Movie" over and over again - maybe seeking one familiar thing with constant change going on around them. They ate lots of cheap Kraft macaroni and cheese at all the diners we stopped at. I won't say it was all bad for them - they did get some good play time in hotel swimming pools, and both seemed to really enjoy the cave in South Dakota.
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As announced here, my sister [livejournal.com profile] drarwenchicken gave birth to a baby girl, around 6pm tonight.

My little niece shares a birthday with my beloved wife, Valkyrie. Happy birthday to the two of you!


May. 24th, 2008 11:16 am
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I've been kinda wanting a skirt I could wear for a long time. I finally broke down and ordered a kilt from Utilikilts.

Update: I wore this, with my cloak, to an SCA event this weekend. The shirt drew more comments than the kilt - the joke being that I was a member of "Clan MacIntosh".
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My work project where I wanted a list of names has been completed. I chose moons of the solar system as a theme, and picked nine of them - luna, phobos, deimos, io, europa, ganymede, callisto, titan, iapetus.
holyhippie: (Corwin)
A while back, I posted something about how Corwin would say to me "I don't love you, Daddy". Well, by now he's mostly grown out of that sort of emotional blackmail. Now, it's Kjersti's turn.

She's telling me, usually in a shout "Daddy, I don't like or love you!". Somehow, I find this easier to deal with than when Corwin did the same thing - and it's all about the timing and delivery. When Kjersti plays this game with me. I know that she's mad at me. After all, she's in the middle of throwing a fit. When Corwin did it, he was holding onto his upset about something else that happened a while ago.

Either way, it's not an insult I take personally, or get upset about - it's just a way of my kids telling me that they are mad at me. And, that they have progressed far enough with their emotional development for the concept that withholding their love from somebody, may upset the target.
holyhippie: (Peace)
As many of you may know, my day job is to administer the email servers for a large computer company. I also run a small server at home that does email and DNS, and acts as a backup for [livejournal.com profile] digitalsidhe. Recently, we had some incidents that highlight problems with anti-spam blacklists.

Wherin I ramble about blacklists )

The bottom line for me is this: Knowing all the pitfalls of blacklists, I'm still going to use them. All the positives (immediate rejection, order of magnitude reduction in work scanning message text) far outweigh the potential negatives.
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Due to the techie life I lead, I've managed to collect eight different phone numbers. All these route phones or devices that I might answer, assuming I'm in the right place at the right time. I won't list the numbers here - instead here is short descriptions of all of them.

  1. My home phone.

  2. The toll-free number that routes to my home phone.

  3. My personal cell phone.

  4. My work cell phone.

  5. My office phone in my primary office.

  6. My office phone in my secondary office

  7. My work-provided pager.

  8. My Grand Central number.

Wow, that's too many. There's no way I'll ever give all of these out to people.

If I did what Grand Central wanted, that would be the only number I'd ever give out. Instead, I'll probably never give that one out. Too many of the other numbers are embedded in people's contact databases for me, I won't be able to give them up and hide them behind Grand Central's service. The Grand Central number was free, and is kind of a toy - I'll probably forget about it or delete it eventually.

Generally, I'll give out #1 and #3 to friends and family. My parents and Valkyrie's parents use #2. However, #4 is a more reliable number to call recently - that number rings my iPhone, and that's the one I've been keeping on me all the time. #5 and #6 are set up to ring both my desk and my work cell at the same time. #5 is the one fellow employees will probably see and use, and is the one I give out on forms that ask for a "Work Number". Nobody should use #7. That one only gets monitoring alerts from systems at work.

Now the rant: Area codes. Hey everyone - printing a seven digit number on a car or a sign is useless. Giving out a seven digit number is useless. If you want people to actually be able to call you, give out the area code as well.

Why? Well, phone numbers without an area code imply that the person seeing that number has a shared bit of context with the person giving the number. That context being where the number resides, and what the area code is in that place. Having this implied context is just fine, if your world is tiny and you only ever interact with people inside that small world. I think this is a horribly bad assumption. Personally, I drive through enough different parts of California on a regular basis to pass through 6 to 8 different area codes. I don't have a map memorized of the boundaries of all those different area codes - and any business that gives out the seven digit form of their number will never get a call from me, because I will never know what area code they are in.

Those eight different numbers I have? They are in four different area codes.

Personally, I try to always write down and give out numbers using the "+1-NNN-NNN-NNNN" format. The "+1" indicates to those people in other countries that this number is in the United States. To people in the United States that are clueless about the meaning of a + in front of numbers, they tend to ignore it.
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My work has been with computers, mostly planning and deploying systems that provide email services. When dealing with a lot of computers, one of the problems you quickly have is what to name them all.

I've seen environments that have had (in my opinion) a complete failure of creative thinking, and decided to come up with a pattern for names that encode information about what the system does into the name. I always find this extremely awkward to work with, since the patterns chosen tend to combine about a half dozen different pieces of information, award each of those pieces of information one to three characters, and the result ends up looking like a random jumble of characters to an outsider. Even for insiders, it takes time and care to think about what the string of characters mean. Plus, I find that this leads into a great deal of fragility in names, and a tendency for an explosion of names - any little change in one of the pieces of information encoded into the name implies a need for either a new name, or a name change.

Personally, the naming pattern for systems that I strongly prefer splits names into two classes: service names, and host names.

Service names are names exposed to end users for a service that they are supposed to access. The most well known of these is "www" This implies that what is behind the name is a web server. There's quite a few other well known ones. I like things like "mail", "ftp", "ns", "webmail". These are short, to the point, and give users an idea of the service that is accessed with that name.

Host names generally aren't exposed to end users, and should be something: a) short, b) unique in the environment, and c) recognizable as a name. Sometime before I started my current job, the people working in my group decided to name most of the systems I work with now after spices. I think this is fantastic, and a smart and creative way to pick names. It hasn't always been easy to pick new names that fit with the pattern, since a lot have been used, and there aren't a lot of commonly known spices - but seriously, I got to name one of my hosts "catnip" and one "cinnamon". How cool is that?

Now, I've got a naming problem that is a bit different. On some of my machines, I divide data up into different buckets, and each bucket needs a name. I inherited this environment with names that are based on latin words for ordinal numbers - almost. The first few you would recognize - "primary, secondary, tertiary." After that, rather than use the anglicized version of the latin ordinals, they switched to the latin ordinals "quatro, quintus, sextus, septimus, octavus". I hit a point where I needed new names, so I chose to extend the pattern - "nonus, decimus, undecimus, duodecimus." Now, I need new names again.

I could keep extending the pattern, but the words that follow get pretty long and hard to write: "tertiusdecimus, quartusdecimus, quintusdecimus" .... uh, no thanks.

I could take the "failure of creativity" route, and pick something simple like "1, 2, 3, 4". Not pretty. I can do better.

What I'm tempted to do is use one of these two lists - the names of the dwarves from Snow White ("Bashful," "Doc," "Dopey," "Grumpy," "Happy," "Sleepy" and "Sneezy"), or the names of the dwarfs from the Hobbit ("Thorin", "Dori", "Nori", "Ori", "Balin", "Dwalin", "Fili", "Kili", "Oin", "Gloin", "Bifur", "Bofur", "Bombur").

Are there any suggestions from the audience? The criteria I'm looking for here include that the names are recognizable as a set, that the set includes at least six names (hopefully more), that each name is reasonably short (preferably under 8 characters long), that the names are at least somewhat recognizable and pronounceable to speakers of American English. They don't have to have an implied or explicit ordering.
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Finally! We managed to get her on video, singing the "Baby Coffee Bean" song.


Jan. 16th, 2008 06:30 pm
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I went to Macworld. Walked around. Lugged a lot of weight on my back. Had lunch with [livejournal.com profile] digitalsidhe. Went back, covered a few things again that caught my eye the first time.

Am really tired now.


Jan. 12th, 2008 08:13 pm
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After a while of ignoring Twitter, I finally got curious enough to sign up for an account and try it out.

I don't know how often I'll post a tweet there, but if you have any interest, my page is here, with an RSS feed here.

I do think the Twitter team has done a very good job at making the service mesh well with updating from mobile devices. It's stunningly easy for me to send a status update from my iPhone.
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Personally, I think we were pretty solidly middle-class growing up - although not much above poor. My father was the sole worker, and he had a managerial job for Social Security. Not great money, but plenty to buy our home and eat expensive organic food.
Full list cut )
Here, I think my kids will score higher than me. Although by now, the "Had your own TV" question should be replaced with "Had your own computer", and the "Had your own phone" should be replaced with "Had your own cell phone."
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Here is the family, showing off a couple of Christmas items.

The wooden track is from [livejournal.com profile] drarwenchicken. The marbles I got for Corwin. The camera is a present from me to the family.

We've been having a lazy week, staying in pajamas all day.


Dec. 27th, 2007 06:32 pm
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I haven't measured my speed lately. This neat little web toy helped me measure it.

This is up from what I usually get. I remember only getting to 30-40 words per minute when I learned to type. Since then, from using computers so much, I actually hit the point where I was touch typing. Practice makes perfect.


Dec. 24th, 2007 01:13 am
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Kjersti seems to be prone to sudden visits to the doctor. First, when she was three months old, there was the yeast infection. Then, at about one and a half, there was the peanut up the nose. Now, she managed to bash her head against the chest in the family room, and the gash she got as a result took two staples to close up.

It's very strange to look at the back of her head and see staples there.

I figure in a couple of years, it's going to be broken arms from falling out of trees. Meanwhile, Corwin will have had his fill of hospitals, having spent his first week of life there, and won't go back.
holyhippie: (Corwin)

Recently Corwin had his sixth birthday. This wasn't a big deal, for some strange reason. Corwin says that for his seventh birthday he wants a Fiesta.

Today, however, we hit a milestone - Corwin lost his first baby tooth. Now we can enjoy that icon of childhood - the gap-toothed first grader!
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Sung to the tune of Frère Jacques

Belladonna, Belladonna,

Fur of black! Fur of black!

Though you sleep all day, though you sleep all day,

I love you. I love you.

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Kjersti's halloween costume this year - Wendy from Peter Pan. Valkyrie made the nightgown. I think the outfit is a hit - blue looks very good on her.
holyhippie: (Peace)
Took this one again:

How smart are you?
Am-I-Dumb.com - Intelligence Test

Here's my result the last time I took it

They clearly rotated some of the questions - for instance, there's a new British Prime minister.
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