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Archived Entries from February 2010


Elvis!

So how's this for nerdy...

Way back in the day, for whatever reason, I started to refer to my wife by a new nickname--Elvis. Probably because she's the greatest.

Anyway. Last decade I bought a G4 tower at home--a "quicksilver" 733 MHz model. It came with a 40 gig hard drive (huge at the time) that I named "Elvis."

I later added a second 40 gig drive and named that one "Priscilla." Aren't I funny?

When I got my big G5 at work six or so years ago it had a 250 gig drive (huge at the time) and I needed a "huge" name to go along with it. "Graceland."

The first PowerBook that I got for work I named "Lisa Marie." (Which is sort of dumb because having the space in the name means you have to use quotes around it when you refer to it inside a shell...).

At home I added a 300 gig drive (huge at the time, heh) and needed an even bigger name for it. "Memphis."

I added a second drive to my G5 at work--400 gigs (huge at the... okay, I'll quit it...). "Tennessee." Boy, I'm a hoot.

My new(er) MacBook got the name of "Presley." At some point I added a fourth drive to my G4 that I had laying around that was only 20 gigs (so no need for a "bigger" name)--I chose "Aron," which is the King's middle name.

So my new MacPro arrives, with a 640 gig drive. I've already used a big city and then the state in which it resides. Bigger than that? How about "Appalachia."

We're good at this point.

But this morning I asked our secretary to order me two 1-terabyte drives for my MacPro. "Eastern United States" somehow doesn't seem to fit. I think maybe I need to do this without geography. Elvis' songs are bigger than anything physically related to him, right? And actually, I think I used to have an external USB drive named "Jailhouse." I think songs are the way to go. How about "Hound" and "Dog?"

"Love" and "Tender?" How about "Suspicious" and "Minds?"

Got it.

"Rock" and "Roll," baby. Perfect!

Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2010, 7:58 pm
Mood: Amused | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


New Computer

My new Mac Pro finally arrived today. Dual 2.26 GHz Intel Xeon Nehalem processors, 6 gigs of RAM, and a 640 gig hard drive (I also moved my 250 and 400 gig drives from my G5 and am hoping to get a 1.5 terabyte drive for the fourth drive bay...).

The Mac Pro looks a lot like my G5, which is interesting because the G5 is almost six years old (I think).

One thing that is interesting is how much quieter this machine is than the G5. I mean, it's silent. If it didn't have a small light above the power button you'd never even know it was on.

I also got new monitors. Their footprint is the same size as the 23' Apple displays, but their screens are much bigger (smaller bezel). They are 25.5" Asus monitors and they look great. I had to tweak the colors a bunch to get them to more resemble what an Apple display would display, since I don't need them optimized for playing Windows games. The desktop resolution is still 1920 x 1200, so it's not like I got a ton more desktop space, but I do enjoy the bigger size.

I've spent the better part of a day reinstalling application software and changing settings and preferences to match the way things were on the other machine. You don't realize how many settings you've tweaked over a six-year period.

Anyway.

On an unrelated note, I have to vote for my very own in-laws as "best in-laws ever." On Saturday my mother-in-law called our house and talked to the redhead and asked if we needed anything from Sam's Club. Betsy asked me while she was on the phone and I said a new TV would be nice (since Sam's supposedly has pretty good deals on televisions). Betsy gave me a look, Joyce laughed on the other end of the phone, story over, right?

Well a few hours later Papa backs into the driveway with a new 50" LG Plasma television in the back of his Envoy. Seriously?

I was in shock. I'm maybe still in shock. I was kidding.

It's awesome. It's frickin' HUGE. And it looks great down in the newly-remodeled basement. I ordered a wall-mount for it that I think should get delivered today. I'm going to do in-wall speakers for surround sound. I need to run cable through the crawl space to the south wall. Well, I have several things that I have to do. For now it is where the old television was. The XBox can broadcast (?) games in high definition so Alex has been having a field day with it. We get high definition versions of a few of the local stations, and the difference is unreal, even to someone like me who isn't really an A/V snob.

Totally, totally cool. Now if only this cold and sore throat would go away. Ugh.

Posted: Wednesday, February 10, 2010, 8:34 pm
Mood: Feeling Crappy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Seasonal Depression

All things considered, I think I've done well with my annual seasonal depression this year. I realize I still have a month-and-a-half until Spring, but it is evident that the days are getting longer and the light at the end of the seasonal tunnel is approaching.

But right now the snow has half-melted and everything just looks gross.

I have a lot of work to do this Spring. I'm very much looking forward to it.

I broke the handle on the kitchen faucet last night. Fantastic. And we have the single-hole style of kitchen counter so it isn't like I can run to Menard's and get a $20 replacement just to get us by for the time being. So that's going to be three-hundred bucks down the drain. At least I've rigged it for now so that you can turn the faucet on and off so I don't have to go up- or downstairs to wash my hands. So that's nice, I guess.

We had a fun security-related incident at work earlier this week. A few years ago a professor in our department paid the college to design and develop an interactive web site. After a few years, as they are want to do, the college decided that they no longer wanted to host the web site without someone paying them a large monthly fee to do so. Well, I ended being asked to host it on one of our servers. Which is fine.

But it was riddled with awful security holes. I was a bad administrator and assumed that since it had been on the college servers for so many years and that they had programmed it, that it should be secure. Right? Not even close. I got a phone call last Sunday and an e-mail from campus security about how a link to the particular breach in question was posted all over a bunch of Russian hacker sites. Fantastic.

I went through the PHP source code and, really, it all but looks like someone was trying to purposely go out of their way to make something completely hackable.

(For anyone that cares, basically there was a PHP index page that took GET data that could be manipulated to allow the end-user to display the contents of system-readable files in the browser--mostly /etc/passwd. Not that much of a real security "breach" because there's nothing, even passwords, as luck would have it, in /etc/passwd other than a listing of users, which might be useful to a hacker if there were hundreds of users on the system and they now could use those names to try to either brute-force passwords or hope that one of the hundreds of users had an awfully weak password that would grant them access to the system. Well, there aren't hundreds of users--just me and Tod--and our passwords are pretty secure. And all of that is academic anyway because I don't allow SSH access to anyone that doesn't happen to have the exact IP address of my Macintosh at work, and even if they broke into my office, they still couldn't log in as root. So not really a security breach, but more of a mild annoyance. And that's the end of that web site...)

So anyway. My new MacPro got shipped earlier this week. I hope it arrives today or tomorrow at the latest. I'm anxious to get it and my two new 26" monitors up and running. Sweet!

Now if I can just make it through the next week or so...

Posted: Thursday, February 04, 2010, 1:54 pm
Mood: Anxious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Forwarding E-mail Messages

So I get a lot of e-mail messages at work, many of which are asking questions either about insects or other pests or about information that we have posted on our various web sites.

Today I got an e-mail from someone asking if had written an article that was on the web (I had to search for it and it was old). The e-mail message had a somewhat lengthy question about the material in the article, which, obviously, I'm not qualified to answer.

It would seem the easiest thing to do would be to just forward the e-mail message to the person qualified to answer it. But then if that person doesn't reply, all the person that sent the original message knows is that they sent and e-mail to ME and didn't hear anything back.

I realize that I can forward the message AND cc: the original sender, but somehow that seems passive-aggressive to me. Like I'm letting the person I'm forwarding it to know that I'm telling the original sender that I'm sending it to them so that they have to answer.

So is it wrong to just reply to the person and say "you should send your question to so-and-so?" I did my duty and replied, and technically I answered the "did you know who..." question.

I realize the sender now has to send another message.

I don't know. Anyway.

Posted: Monday, February 01, 2010, 9:50 pm
Mood: Curious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


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