Tuesday Jun 14, 2005

Adobe Reader 7.0 for Solaris on SPARC

Adobe has updated their Adobe Reader software for Solaris on SPARC to the latest version, version 7.0.

Now, if we can just get them to recompile it for Solaris on x86. That's all that it should take.

You could still get version 4.0.5 of Adobe Reader for Solaris on x86 from their FTP server last I checked. They had pulled it from the main download page due to a security bug in it that they didn't want to fix. At the time, not updating the Solaris on x86 binary probably made sense to them because I think it was around the same time that Sun had announced that Solaris 9 on x86 wasn't going to happen. Still, the 4.0.5 version was on their FTP server the last that I checked, but for some reason I can't seem to find where that is at the moment.

Maybe OpenSolaris will encourage them to put up 7.0 for Solaris on x86.

Monday Jun 13, 2005

Pigs On The Wing!

Time to get out a bigger umbrella. Pigs apparently can fly!

Roger Waters is re-joining Pink Floyd to play the Live 8 concert on July 2nd at Hyde Park in the UK.

Or as a friend of mine aptly quoted:

"Pink is NOW well, he's come back from the hotel
don't need to send along, a surrogate band
you fans are going to get  just a one night stand!"

I saw Pink Floyd in concert back when they were doing the Division Bell tour. I saw them in Minneapolis and at Soldier Field. The Soldier Field concert was awesome. It was raining but the rain fit in so well in two places.

It was a nice slow drizzle during "Wish You Were Here". The rain hitting the laser show made it look like it was raining diamonds. Very neat.

The coolest part of the rain during that show was during "One of These Days". I remember that it was more than a drizzle during most of that song. However, when all hell breaks loose during that track they opened up two rather large pig-like things on either side of the stage that had spotlights for eyes. At that same exact moment, it started to pour! Screaming Guitar! Screaming Fans! Pouring Rain! It was a life defining moment I can go so far as calling it that.

Oh, how I wish I could be there. Bummer that I'm working that week and I'm OnCall too! I guess that I'll just have to annoy my wife by putting on some Floyd really loud.

Friday Jun 03, 2005

Keeping things consistent

Since I bought myself a Mac mini a couple of weeks ago, I've been slowly adjusting to it. Actually, I've probably been spending more time playing Warcraft III than actually adjusting to it, but who's really keeping track.

I was kinda surprised that I didn't have all that much data actually living on my PC when I retired it. That's not to say that I didn't have a lot of data that I passed through it, however. I just didn't have much data that lived on it. Most of it was mounted off of Samba shares served up by Ultra-10 living down in the basement. Outside of the Quicken data that I had on there, I didn't have to make backups of much anything. The Solaris 10 and JDS 2.0 instances that I had on that PC as well as Windows didn't have any real data so I just didn't do anything with them.

All that I had to do was read the documentation about how to export from Quicken 2004 for Windows over to Quicken for Mac. I usually follow the philosophy of "If all else fails, read the directions" so it took a few tries.

Though the actual import was pretty painless, I'm a bit frustrated by the differences between Quicken for Mac and the Quicken for Windows. They look, act, and behave very differently.

The biggest annoyance for me is that Quicken for Mac looks nothing like Quicken for Windows. I'm used to, and like, having the nice summary that states what the status and value of each of my accounts is, broken up by type and then having a nice "Total Worth" summary at the bottom of that list. No such thing in Quicken for Mac that I can find. I can get the Account Summary with totals for each account, but it doesn't look as nice as the Windows version.

I'm also trying to get used to the cleared/reconciled state on the Mac version. In Windows, I could just click in a box when something cleared and it it would go to "cleared" and then "reconciled" for each click. With the Mac version I get a pop-up window each time I click there asking me if I want to Clear or Reconcile the transaction. When I take my bank statement, or my Menards card statement (both of which don't have automatic online download) it can take a long time. Of course, I've learned to just do the reconcile after I enter everything, but its a change.

I'm just really surprised that Intuit hasn't made more of an effort to make the Windows and Mac versions of Quicken look and act the same. Money is money, regardless of which computer you're using.

Of course, I have to mention that JDS on Solaris 10 looks the same regardless of if you're running it on SPARC or a PC. The Linux version of Java Desktop 3.0 (which is already running on Solaris 10) is supposed to be the same as well. I haven't loaded the current development build on my laptop yet.

Firefox, Mozilla, Thunderbird, and any number of other opensource applications look the same on Mac, PC, Unix, Linux or whatever. It makes users's lives easier to switch between them.

Monday May 09, 2005

Certified! (Certifiable?)

Back in the last week of January and the first week in February, I was involved in a little project to write questions for Solaris Operating System Certifcation for Solaris 10.

From what remember of the certification exams when I first was Solaris Certified was that they asked a lot of arcane questions on things that you didn't do very often. Things like setting up a printer or a modem from the command line. I hated the exam, but somehow passed it. Since then, seven years have passed and I'd like to think that I know quite a bit more about Solaris administration than I did before.

In any case, I was asked to join the group of people that were writing the questions for the three exams involved with Solaris 10 Certification. Specifically, I was asked to join for my Solaris on x86 based platforms experience. I've run a webpage internally for the past few years called Lapland (Located a http://webhome.central/lapland for Sun-internal people.) Lapland is more of a clearing house with various links to engineering groups and useful tools and packages both internal and external to Sun.

The experience of writing the exam was much different that what I had thought it was going to be. We had a wide group of people with many different focuses; security, service, engineering, presales, professional services, and education. We also had practically every english accent your could image because we had people from Italy, The Netherlands, England, Canada, US, South Korea, and Australia. A lot of experience and experiences to say the least.

We had to be taught how to write the exam questions. Basically, it boiled down to writing questions that followed the Solaris administration courses. We couldn't come up with obscure questions just to stump people. We couldn't write man page questions. (So asking what each option of the 'ls' command meant was out of the question). The hardest requirement was creating answers that were right all of the time as well as answers that were wrong all of the time, regardless of the situation. Finally, we couldn't put our groups' leader's name into questions. (Apparently she gets enough strange calls as it is.)

So, for a week, we churned out some 900 questions total. 300 for each exam. The week after that was the technical review of those 900 questions. We had to rewrite many, and throw out a bunch of them as well. Spending between 8 and 10 hours a day with the same group of people making unambiguous questions that had only one right answer no matter what was one of the more technically challenging things I have done.

The three exams went our for Beta testing in March. Two versions of each exam, each with about 160 - 180 questions each. I took each of the exams myself (They were free for anyone taking the Beta's.) That was challenging as well. Though I reconized many of the questions and had seen the answers, I still had to think about each one. 4 hours for 180 questions is not easy.

The exams that we came up were challenging, but not impossible.

After the exam questions were written, I had no other input into the whole exam process. However, I'm told that after the number crunching that was done based on how the Beta's were answered, a final set of exam questions was selected. Hard questions that no one was able to answer were thrown out, and easy ones that everyone answered were thrown out too. The final exam was whittled down to 60 questions.

I just go my final exam results from the Admin I and Admin II exams this past week. I had hopped that I'd get something north of 90%. I was surprised that I got a score in the mid 80%'s. It was enough to pass though.

I got in the mail my official certificate stating that I am a "Sun Certified System Administrator for Solaris 10 OS" I'd frame it if I had a permanent office assigned to me. Since I don't anymore, it'll just have to live in the folder with the rest of my certifications.

Wednesday May 04, 2005

Mini-me?

My PC at home had been a bit noisy for the last several months. Whenever I would turn it on, it would make this nice grinding noise that would continue for about 5 or 10 minutes before it would finally get quiet. It was a bit annoying but since it eventually quieted down, it was tolerable.

As of late though, it started to just stay noisy from poweron until poweroff. Well, maybe it didn't really get worse, but I noticed it more. This was probably due to being used to having a nice, silent SunRay in my home office as well as in the Sun office. In any case, I was able to rule out the harddrives as being a problem and it came down to the fan on my video card.

My PC is an old 800MHz Athlon from at least 5 years ago. It chuggs along pretty well under Solaris 10 for x86, JDS 2 and Win2k. Actually, Solaris 10 and JDS work quite well on it. Win2k was starting to give me problems.

Along the lines of "Everything worked until I upgraded" I picked up a copy of Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. I figured I was good to go because my hardware was a bit more than the minimum requirements. I found out that the hardware was OK, but the software wasn't. Loading RCT3, I had to update DirectX. Firing up RCT3 after that, I found that it complained that DirectX wouldn't work with my video card? No good.

My video card was a Nvdia GEForce2 GTS based card. That chip is supposed to work with the latest DirectX. So, I downloaded the latest Nvidia drivers and things magically work. This is good.

However, the new problem is that I get static on my sound now. iTunes gets static when I change window focus. Even Quicken's few startup sounds have static on them. This is no good. Good old plug-and-pray again. No way of assigning interrupts that I can find under Windows.

Solaris and JDS again have no problems. The last time I had a sound issue under Windows, I wound up re-loading the OS.

Hardware problems plus a software issue plus a 5+ year old machine means go buy a new computer.

I was going to go buy a computer for my grandmother anyways. (She broke her printer and the crufty old PC that she had doesn't have any USB ports on it and there aren't any printers that I can find with parallel ports anymore anyways.) Also, when your grandmother complains that her computer is slow you know that its time to get a new one.

Those that work with me in the Sun Office know that I've become quite a Mac advocate lately when it comes to home machines. In the year and a half since my wife and I bought her 15" Powerbook G4, I have yet to see it lock-up or crash. It just kinda works. Also, the ease of use of iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, and iDVD which are bundled make it simple and powerful to use. I compare this to trying to figure out how to get my mother-in-law's digital camera to behave correctly on their PC using the bundled software that came with the camera.

In any case, I've been looking at Macs for a while. Sun gets a nice discount on Macs. (For Sun internal people, go take a look at http://webhome.central/sunmacusers ) I was surprised to find that the discount is, in several cases, as good if not better than the educational discount. I wonder if Sun gives Apple a discount as well?

Since we already had a good monitor for my grandmother and she has limited space where her computer sits and I wanted something inexpensive, the Mac mini seemed like a very good fit. Going with the 1.25GHz with 512MB of memory was good. I got one of those.

For myself, I was torn between buying a new PC or going with the Mac. Running an x86 box would be nice because I could put Solaris 10 on it. Unfortunately, no iTunes or Quicken for Solaris. I'd be tempted by the dark side and would likely wind up putting that on too. No good there.

I decided to get me a Mac. I was debating about going with one of the PowerMac G5's. The problem with that was when I was done with what I wanted with a gig of memory I was looking at about $2500. I had a hard time justifying that to myself. (My wife, on the other hand, was saying go for it, which was strange.) It would have been really cool to have that much horsepower, but I though of the power drain. It would spend most of its life playing iTunes. I guess that I've been listening to Jonathan too much and the Sun Grid (The picture in the Sun Grid banner is of downtown Minneapolis by the way.)

One of the iMac's would have been neat too. I just bought a new LCD monitor and that didn't make much sense. I was thinking cheap. I've got lots of projects to do around the house so saving money would be a good idea.

So I convinced myself that the Mac mini would be good. I waited until after Tiger released on Friday, April 29th and went the next day. I picked up a maxed out mini. 1.42GHz, 1GB memory, SuperDrive, 80GB harddrive, Wireless and Bluetooth.

I plugged it into my Sun USB keyboard from a SunRay and hooked up the wireless mouse that I had on my PC and life is good. I was hoping it would be a bit larger than it is. I figured I could set my LCD flatpanel on it, but its smaller than the base! It does fit on top of the desk under the speakers and is quite quiet.

I was pleasantly surprised that it came with Quicken 2005 for Mac on it. This wasn't the demo version either. Since Quicken lists for about $70, that's a very good deal along with the whole iLife suite and I'm good to go. I did pick up a copy of the Starcraft Battle Chest and the Warcraft III Battle Chest too. I guess that I'm getting old because I didn't really care that the mini didn't meet the Doom III requirements.

Thursday Apr 14, 2005

New flatpanels....

I have space on my desk at home now.

I used to have 2 nice 21" Sun monitors sitting on my desk. One was attached to a SunRay (which was tied to an Ultra-60 that I put down in my basement because it was warming up my office too much) and the other was attached to my PC.

This was all fine and dandy because they are beautiful screens, but they weighed 72lbs each and sucked 130W each in power (at leat accoring to the Sun System Handbook.) Actually, the weight and power consumption wasn't that big of a deal to me. What I did start to notice though is that they were just plain big. 20" deep. I found that with the desk that I had them on I was sitting less than 6 inches away from the screen at times. Not a good thing.

So on Monday, one of Office Administrators that I help out with technical issues came asking me for help with her iWork JDS PC that I set-up for her a while back. (She baked me cookies, so its a fair trade in my opinion.) Her CRT monitor had died. I impressed her by asking, "Did it die with a loud "POP?!?!?" I think that's how all CRT monitors die. Of course, it did die in that fashion. Anyways, she and her husband had gone out looking for a new montior to get to replace it and had found a good deal. Her JDS PC got the hand me down because the new LCD panel went on their Sony Media Center PC and its LCD went on the JDS PC.

Her problem now was that she couldn't get a display on the LCD panel. It booted up, but when it was supposed t go to a login screen, the graphics die. It was a simple fix because the system was trying to use a refresh rate that was way too high for LCD panels. I just put the JDS PC into the lab and hooked it up to one of the CRT's and kicked the refresh rate down and then attached it back to the LCD.

Another problem solved, and I'm getting cookies out of it too. Well, maybe not cookies. She said that I might just get some Schell's Beer out of it instead. That's fine by me too.

She started to talk about the new LCD panel that they found. Office Depot had a great deal on some LG 19" flatpanel monitors. They were selling the Flatron L1930B for $494. That by itself isn't a great deal, but they had $220 in rebates on it. This kicks the price down to something like $320 after taxes. (You might figure that I wouldn't buy another LG item after the fun with the dryer. Even though the parts for that dryer wound up being $90 for whole gas valve assembly, I still like LG and I wouldn't try to take apart an LCD panel myself and this one has a 3 year warranty anyways.)

Near as I can tell, the Flatron L1930B has been discontinued, which probably explains the huge rebates on it. There were some newer ones at the Office Depot store that had better contrast and refresh rates. (The L1930B has a 25ms refresh rate while the newer ones have a 12ms refresh.) For what I use them for, the slight change in specs don't justify a $200+ price jump.

I picked up two of them. I have space on my desk now and I'm not looking at the screen from a distance of 6 inches anymore.

Now all I need is a new PC. My old 800MHz Athlon is getting long in the tooth and the video card fan on it is making a nice grinding noise. I'm really leaning towards a Mac Mini or a Power Mac G5. I know its a big difference in price and horsepower. I won't decide until the end of this month when Tiger is released. I really want to do a bunch of video editing and that's the way to go. If I didn't do that, then I'd get a Athlon64 PC and put Solaris 10 on it.

Friday Feb 18, 2005

"I don't usually sell to end users..."

So my wife was complaining about stuff taking far to long to dry in the dryer. When she first mentioned it, she was having problems drying a large load of towels. I figured that it was due to the fact that towels like to hold water and it was a pretty big load so I didn't think anything about it.

Yesterday, she called me at the office to tell me that she had a bedsheet in the dryer for well over an hour and it was still cold and wet. I promised to look at it when I got home.

Getting home, I put a load in the washer and then into the dryer. Firing up the dryer it looked like things were going fine. It was getting hot and life was good so I let it run for a while.

After about 15 minutes, I checked on the dryer again. It was still running... well, it was still tumbling, and it was also ice cold. This isn't good. So I got out their troubleshooting manual:

Problem:                Solution:

No heat                 Check circuit breaker

That solution would be fine and dandy, but this is a gas dryer and the circuit breaker is obviously OK because it has power.

Grrr.....

I decide to pull it away from the wall and take a look inside through the rear vents. I start it, and I can see the heater element (replacement for a pilot light) glow red and then go out. After a minute, it tries again. No fire at all.

Either the valve is damaged or the heater element isn't hot enough. I start to take it apart. (Though it is only 1.5 years old, its out of warranty so if I can fix it myself, I will. I know what service technicians charge.)

Fast forward over an hour as I remove a bunch of screws to panels while trying to figure out how it come apart. I finally get it apart and give the valve a whack with the screwdriver to see if its stuck.

I get a flame this time. This is good. Being a good techie, I stop it and wait a few minutes and try again. This time, no flame.

Grrrrrrr...

Either the valve is really stuck, or something else is wrong. I give dad a call to see what he thinks. (I'm a computer geek, not an appliance geek. He's an appliance geek, not a computer geek.) Solenoid coils either are busted or aren't getting voltage.

Haul out the voltmeter. I get a resistance of 1.8 KiloOhms one of the 2 coils and an infinite resistance on the other. Not good. Broken coil. Check the voltage for the power to the coils with the dryer running. Yup, they get voltage when the heater element is on. I now know what's broke.

Go to LG's website and see if I can find a way to order parts. Nope. I get a listing of service dealers. I call them and they state they don't sell parts. They fix them, but don't sell the parts. I call LG directly from the number on their Owner's Manual. They have an option to order parts right off the main menu.

I talk with the woman that answers and tell her about the problem. The conversation goes something like this:

LG: "Are you a technician?"
Me: "No. I know what the problem is. One of the electronic valve coils is bad. Can you help me find the part number and let me order it?"
LG: "I don't usually sell to end users."
Me: "OK. So can you help me me find the part number and let me order it?"
LG: "I don't usually sell to end users."
Me: (Realizing that this might be a problem.) "What do you mean by that? You don't usually or flat out won't sell me the part?"
LG: Silence...
Me: "I know where the problem is. I just need the part. The dryer's not under warranty anymore and I'd like to avoid having to pay someone to fix something that I can do myself."
LG: Silence...
Me: "This is very frustrating. Can you help me or not?"
LG: "Well you don't have a service manual with the part number."
Me: "Its not published in the user's guide. How else would I?"
LG: "With the service manual."
Me: "Well can you help me figure out what the part number is and let me order it?"
LG: "I think I can help you find the part number but I'll have to check with my supervisor as to if I can sell you it. What's the dryer model number?"
Me: "Its DLG5932W. The broken part is the electronic valve coil."

She finds that there is a gas valve assembly and gives me the part number.

Me: "So can you sell it to me?"
LG: "Let me check with my supervisor... I'm sorry. I can't. Only a qualified service technician."

Grrr....

I've get the names of a few authorized service centers. They all are assuming that I'm still under warranty and are a bit surprised when I ask for labor rates. I get prices for labor. $69 - $89 for the first 1/2 hour plus $20 for each 15 min... plus the price of parts.

I scheduled one and actually talked to the technician about the problem. He agrees that the coil is shot and he'll order the appropriate part. Maybe I'll get it by the end of the next week.

I really don't like the attitude of "we won't sell you this part because you're not qualified" for something in the consumer space. I'm not asking them for warranty service and I don't carry a service contract with them so what do they care? Its not like they make money off of the local technician doing the work.

The only thing that I can figure is that if I do the gas valve wrong that it could leak and I'd find a way to sue them. I look at it as I wouldn't take it apart if I didn't have at least some idea what I was doing.

The $.20 coil will probably cost me a $150 when its all said and done. Hopefully less if I can get the technician to just drop the thing off and let me do it. I was happy to see that I'm not the only person to have this kind of experience. Though I don't think my wife would like it if I painted the dryer yellow and put Space Invader decals on it.

Friday Jan 21, 2005

Finally... some SNOW

So today it finally looks like we're going to be getting some actual, significant snowfall today. Weather folks are talking anywhere from 4 - 6 inches in the Twin Cities. This will be the first major snowfall (major being defined as more than 1 inch in a 24hour period) this winter. I've got about 3 or 4 inches total on the ground up at my home (in the far northern suburbs of the Twin Cites). Most of that has fallen in the past two or three days. The official record keepers at the MSP Airport haven't seen that much, which is pretty obvious when looking around down at the Sun Office in Bloomington.

I think that we've had only 4 inches total of snow so far this year, compared to the 2 feet that we're suppsed to have had by now. Lack of snow is a bad thing for my landscaping. Snow, believe it or not, acts as a nice insulator. Without the snowcover, the frost goes deep into the ground when you have the bone-chilling sub-zero highs like we had last week. I don't want to see how many of my landscaping bushes, or the tulips my wife planted in the fall decide not to sprout this spring.

I feel bad for Raleigh, NC. Looks like the whole city was shut down yesterday by a mere inch of snow. Amazing... well, maybe not so when you consider that they don't have the sanding or salt trucks that we do up here (nor do they really need them.)

I'm not going to be able to enjoy the snow for that long though. I'm heading out to Denver on Sunday to write the Solaris 10 Certification Exams. Denver was 70 yesterday! (Which accoring to the Weather Channel was a record.)

Tuesday Jan 18, 2005

Kinda nerdy...

I am nerdier than 82% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out! I guess that I am one of the High Nerds. I thought that I'd be much more, but my wife cleans our bedroom and when I get home from work I don't usually get back in front of the computer.
There are those here that are far nerdier than I am. Find out who.

Monday Jan 10, 2005

Still no snow!

So here it is, January 10th, and we still don't have a single day with 1" of snow so far this year. Sure, there's snow on the ground right now in places, as well as a few piles from where the shovels or plows have pushed the little that we have. However, we still have the brown grass showing and no place to do any cross country skiing.

Snow has gone north of us. Snow has gone south of us. Snow has gone east of us... I want my share now!

Tuesday Dec 21, 2004

Who left the freezer door open?

Okay, so we finally got some snow today. It wasn't much. I doubt that it amounted to more than half an inch. At least it took care of some of the brown.

Got a little snow yesterday as well after a little bit of freezing rain/sleet that made a mess of the roads. Something like 200+ accidents on the roads yesterday. Luckily, I decided to work from home so it wasn't a problem for me.

Of course I paid for it this morning. It took me about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get into the office. I'm still amazed at how many people forget how to drive in a bit of snow.

Now it looks like the freezer door is being left open here. Highs on Friday may reach the whopping temperature of 1 degree!

Winter is finally starting to make its presence known.

Friday Dec 17, 2004

Where's the snow?

So here it is, December 17th. We've already had a couple of times where the temp has dropped below 10 degrees Farenheit, so we've got the cold. Where's the snow?

Grass is brown and Christmas is coming and Jack Frost is surely nipping at the nose. But there isn't a drifting bank to get upsot in. This is getting depressing.

Chicago has had snow. Wisconsin has had snow. Michigan has snow. I think that Iowa has snow too... but nothing here in Minnesota that resembles snow.

Are we on Santa's naughty list or something?

Monday Dec 13, 2004

Fun with humidifiers

After spending last winter in my new home walking around and seeing (or not seeing) my cats run in fear at my approach due to massive amounts of static electricity buildup, I decided to put in a humidifier. It was going to happen eventually, but I got around to it this past weekend.

For those that don't live in northern climates, or places where it doesn't get colder than freezing, you probably don't realize the need for a humidifier in the house. While the summer up in Minnesota sometimes makes the air feel more like soup, the winter makes it very dry. Cold air doesn't hold much moisture and when its heated up, well, that doesn't help it much either. You get all of the nice benefits of dry skin, waking up in the middle of the night with cottonmouth much worse than normal, fear of doorknobs, light switches, and scared housepets.

We moved into our new house last year and I've been very happy with it. Most things have been well thought out in their location and access, in terms of normal household things like lights, water main, fuse box, electrical circuits, etc. I had thought that it was good thing that the furnace was nice and tucked in a corner, as opposed to being in the middle of the basement. My mind has changed now.

The humidifier that I bought is the bypass style. Essentially, this style involves cutting a large opening in either the hot air supply or cold air return to place the unit that consists of a solenoid valve, and a mesh screen/filter that water gets poured over. Its called a bypass style because you need to cut and install ducting from the opposite supply or return. This creates air-flow that goes through the filter and evaporates the water into the air. Its simple enough of a concept.

My problem here is that some homebuilders (or mine at least) haven't figured out that this is something that 99% of the people living in MN will install one of these units and provide space to give a save place to cut into the ducting without cutting something else that lives inside the ducting like the A-coil for the air-conditioner.

The problem in my case lies with the furnace being tucked into the corner. The cold air return was accessible, but the hot air side was up against a wall on 2 sides (with only about 3 or 4 inches clearance, had the cold air return running down next to it on the 3rd, and had ducting coming out of it on the front. The ducting coming out of it in the front wouldn't have been a problem to tap into, but they put a vent (presumably for basement heating) immediately at the first place one could cut in to put in a vent. My bypass had to start out about 3 feet from the furnace to run back to the humidifier which is attached to the cold air return. I had no other place to put it. Luckily, they included enough ducting with the unit to make the distance.

I will say that I do appreciate people that do this sort of thing for a living. I suppose that having the appropriate tools for sheet metal does help, but doing it everyday likely helps more. The instructions for the unit said that installation would take about an hour. I stopped after 3 because it was 10pm on a Sunday night. I'm down to the last step, which involves installing the self-piercing valve for the water supply. I figured that cutting into the water supply at 10pm after all of the hardware stores have closed was not a good idea. I'll do that tonight.

Hopefully my cats will appreciate it.

Monday Nov 15, 2004

A few final words on the subject

So its been two weeks now since President Bush won the election vs Senator Kerry. I'm not going to go wailing on about how the election was stolen or anything else like that. I voted for Kerry. Minnesota went to Kerry. About 55 million people voted for Kerry. 59 million voted for President Bush and that was enough to win the states to get him the electoral votes.

That's the way our system of government works. I'm not happy about the results, but that's the way that it goes. The thing that I keep in mind about the whole process, and that a great many people seem to forget, is that the United States is one of the few countries in the world that could have this much of a division and have this close of an election and not have tanks rolling down the streets.

The part that annoys me right now are those on the Right going around claiming that they have a mandate and that the Left doesn't have a clue and should simply be quiet.

Sorry folks, I've got news for you here. Even though the Right won the election, it doesn't mean that you have a mandate. 55 million voters do not agree with you. Senator Kerry got the second most votes of any Presidential candidate ever. (President Bush got the most obviously.) You can't discount that.

I'm also finding it interesting that people were writing into the editor complaining that MN went blue during the election when clearly most of the state (and the country) was red. Well... since half of the people in MN live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and we're decided by total vote count, that's the way that it works. Don't think that just because you live in the country/rural area that you're more American and have more say that I do. Be happy that popular vote decides individual states and the electoral college decides the President... otherwise Bush would have lost the first election based on popular vote. You just happen to live in a state. I'm sure that folks living down in Iowa that voted for Kerry can agree with this since Iowa went red.

So, the election is done with. My guy lost. That's the way it goes. I just hope that all of the bad things that were being talked about by both sides never happen.

Tuesday Nov 02, 2004

Fork in the road... (is it a dinner or a salad fork?)

So the nation appears to be at a fork in the road. On the right, we have the right-wing nutjobs and on the left we have the liberal weiners (ala www.jibjab.com). If you're having trouble deciding, take a look at this helpful guide from America's Finest News Source.

As for myself, I was out and voted when the polls opened at 7am. Not too bad. It would have taken probably about an hour to get through the line at that time (because my wife were there at 7am and not before so there was a nice line). We got lucky though, the voter sign-in was broken up into 3 or 4 lines, based on last name. Luckily, no one was in the T - Z line. Only took about half and hour to get through the line and vote.

Minnesota, for the most part, uses the optical scan readers. Either complete the arrow for who you want to vote for or do like my precinct does and have flashback to taking the SAT and ACT with the fill in the bubble.

Now if we can just stop listening to the dang campaign commercials on TV. I wonder how many will still be playing at 9pm tonight after the polls close in MN at 8pm. Very good use of campaign dollars.

If you get a chance, take a look at http://www.electoral-vote.com/ for a pretty nice break-down and history of how things have been looking throughout the campaign.

The big wager now is not who will win... its when we'll know. I haven't heard of any major irregularities yet, but I'm sure with 10,000 lawyers on EACH side (accoring to the local news this morning), we'll find some problem somewhere.

About

Phil is an Area Technical Engineer in the Central Area of Oracle's Field Service in North America. He has 15 years of experience supporting Sun's entire product line.

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