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Happy Halloween, all! The highlight of my Halloween so far is winning 2nd place in the pumpkin carving contest. Other than that, it's probably my least fun Halloween in recent years. First, as a technogeek, I'm obliged to be devastated that my digital camera has developed stuck pixels. Every photo has a pleasant 2x2 block of green squares just below-right of center. Unlike a sticky door or zoom troubles, stuck pixels can't really be worked around - they're going to be on every picture this camera takes, no matter what I do. Replacing the camera isn't exactly something I can afford to do right now, so I'll have to make due with my little point-n-shoot digital. Yeah, boohoo, Derek's gotta use his second-string camera, while most people haen't got ONE good digital camera to use. Oh well, it's the life I live!

The second downer about today is that it's the first Halloween that I don't have Destiny for the evening. The timing of the calendar puts Halloween on a visitation day with her mother. It's the first in the 5 years we've been separated, so I can't complain too much, but I'll miss taking her around, door to door, recieving candy from strangers.

Derek Recommends:

regular blog updates

Yes, I'm being snide and ironic. I'm trying, people, really I am, but there's only so much I can write at any time!

The UK's Guardian has put to text the kind of lists that seem pretensious in their use of extreme word choice. Guardian, with proper British restraint, simply calls these their homegrown list The top 40 bands in Britain today but resorts to the absolute term 'greatest' for The 40 greatest US bands today.

Not surprisingly, there's quite a few on both lists, even the US one, that I haven't heard of before. Tonight might be a good night to tempt the RIAA's wrath, fire up KaZaA Lite, and fill up a few CDs.

A few years back, a magazine at Barnes & Noble caught my eye. Witty, classy, Q Magazine had a big price tag but it came with a 'best music of 1999' CD. I was happily impressed with the tunes and the text, but the subscription rate (over $100 US?) is out of my league and delivery to the Fargo media outlets is small and spotty. I've flipped through it a couple times, scared off by it's $8 or $9 newsstand price, but I miss the view from the UK. There's something just a little different, something non-Clearchannel, something more akin to my tastes.

For a while, I'd check out the Top 40 charts for foreign countries, downloading the interesting things, but it became a bit tiresome to find so much Timberlake, Madonna, Creed, Blur, and their contemoraries on the Japanese and French charts. Hopefully I can pull enough from this Guaradian list to satisfy my taste for unique music until the next time I run across a 'greatest' list.

A link, in hopes of tricking me back into regular updates:

The hosting list for RoadRunner customers in Wisconsin

These days, we love organizing our internet...we visit indexes that sort by categories, a'la Yahoo. We want things sorted by relevance, like Google. We want things organized by Personality, like Backwash. We want them sorted by most-recent, like However -- haven't we missed the obvious alphabetical sorting? Dig around in's member list, examining their little nooks of the universe. You might find something you never knew you were looking for, if only you were bored enough to get into the 'N's

My office went through a rearranging last week. Unlike the fun, playful rearrangings we've been subjected to in the past, this time the Powers That Be created the floorplan. No input from the movees was allowed. Suggestions were met with a, "this floor plan will be just fine." The rearranging was delayed until our administrative-expense surplus was large enough to spend, now returning us closer to the breaking point when it comes to our performance-based goals.

I was shifted from one end of the building to the other, in a nearly mirrorlike fashion. I can now watch my car in the parking lot aaaaallll day long if I wanted to, while the west-facing window I had before allowed me to observe approaching storms with great detail. I'm closer to the bathrooms now, which, although convenient, also allows me to keep track of everyone else's toilet use as well.

My desk went from being a left-handed desk to a right-handed desk. The difference has to do with the layout of the 'l' shape. The side the narrower workspace goes on is considered which "handed" the desk is. My previous desk was a leftie, but now I was given a rightie. Because of the layout, I've been forced to rearrange the clerical tools of my job. Every time I staple, I hold the bundle of papers in my right hand and swipe them in the direction of my radio's new residence. I pause for a moment, while the dissonance sinks in. Then, I move the papers to my left hand, and they find their way to the electric stapler's new home.

*cough* *snort* Having a cold sucks.

But who do I blame? Colds have been going around everywhere I look: Des' daycare, friends, coworkers. Destiny and I came down with this cold on the same day, so most likely we were exposed at the same time. Relatives? Could be; an uncle's family were complaining of illness on Sunday.

Now is where I concentrate my psychic energies on smiting the guilty party -- psychic powers should be able to detect the correct guilty party even if I'm not sure who they are, right? Smiting is a bit too harsh, though; maybe my psychic powers should just introduce some chaos into their life. Hide the toothpaste. Deprogram their car radio's presets. My psychic powers should drive in front of the guilty party at 1/2 the speed limit for one whole day. Make their internet connection really, really, really slow. That'll teach them to mess with my health.

Two months ago, I decided that I'll have a server ready for coloation by 11/1/2003. I figured, hey, I've been using Slackware since the early 90s, I've had multiple running servers in my apartment, how hard could it be? A week, tops, and most of that time will be watching install and compile text scroll across the screen.

Well, I'm now down to the last two weeks until my deadline, daemons STILL aren't compiling right, SCSI drives go to sleep and don't wake up without reboots, hardware that SAYS it's Linux-compatible are ultimately are found to be not so, and I still have yet to configure the things that have installed properly.

The most significant thing I've done, beyond kernel compiles, is eliminating that damn screen-blanking that's enabled by default in Slackware.

If I added up the hours I've put into this, at my standard $45/hr rate, that's THOUSANDS of dollars put into two servers, one a used $99 server with $100 worth of hard drives in it, the other a frankenstein of spare parts from my closet, including several parts which have come from Macs (one of this is NOT a storage device). Interestingly, the Mac parts work better than I could have imagined; they have had no incompatibility issues.

Yes, I'm a geek -- a BIG geek. Unfortunately, amongst all the other time-consuming things going on in my life, I've been working on two computers for waaayyyyy beyond my usual tolerance for non-working equipment. It frustrates me.

1 comment
"Administration, This is Derek."

"Hi, um, is this customer service for Proactiv?"

"Sorry, this is Lincoln Mutual; you must have a wrong number."

"I'VE got a wrong number?!!?"

Her emphasis on "I've" makes me wonder - does she really think that the guy who answered the phone has the wrong number? I affirm her error, and she hang up. Oh well. Proactiv customer calls are very common after 4:00 in my office; the number is very close to ours.

Yesterday, Destiny and I went to the Upper Great Plains Tech Conference at the appropriately-named Fargodome. We didn't go to the seminars -- all we had time for was the trade show.

I, for one, was disappointed. There wasn't anything cool there. Any cutting-edge technology? A little, but nothing really worth standing around and 'oooh'ing at. Most of the booths were service providers: support, configuration, hosting, connectivity. If you didn't see a broadband vendor, you must've been on drugs: it seemed like HALF the booths were for network access. Voice over IP was another big one: I remember at least 3 booths with phones and routers sitting out to play with...sorry, I've talked on a phone before. The only 'toy' that caught my eye was a Rimage CD burner and printer that looked like lots of fun, but well outside my budget. NDSU had several booths with what looked like student projects. A big cordoned-off area looked like new medical technology, but it consisted of tables with computer screens on them.

The other component were the webdesign firms. Altrudev, Mind Tremors, Sundog...they all had booths there, with pretty posters and videos playing and full-color brochures about how great they are. It's almost depressing, to know that they're what I'm up against in the webdesign market.

I have a niche, tho - small businesses that need full-service support and functional website work, without a big expense.

So, I doubt I'll be renting a booth at the tradeshow any time soon. I make enough to keep my business going, not to spend on pretty brochures and fancy booths. If you're looking for a company with services like mine, drop me a line.

Happy Birthday gerbil! Gerbil came to live with us on October 12th, 2001. After his first year with us, Destiny became interested in figuring out the gerbil's birthday. We bought him in the middle of October, but how old was he when we got him? Based on the estimate of Grandma Kathy's gerbil, we figured our gerbil must have been a couple weeks old. It's probably not accurate at all -- but Destiny decided October 1 must be a close enough date. Good enough for me!

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