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Tue, 21 Aug 2001

Welcome to my online journal or blog as these things are known.  I'm using Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition software to dictate this entry.  I'm not really sure, that dictating is really any faster than just typing but it does with my hands free to work on other projects.  The project that I'm currently working on is a beaded curtain for my office doorway.  There's an open doorway between my home office and the downstairs bathroom I can't have a regular door on it as it has to be an open doorway because the furnace and water heater are also in my office.  Well, actually they're in a closet which also opens off of my office.  So anyway, I want a little privacy so I'm making a very heavily beaded curtain for the doorway.  It's a pain in the butt really, I'll have to string about 21,000 beads to get the thing the way I want it but the kids already seem to think it's going to be so cool.

Speaking of kids, I have three or rather my wife and I have three.  And to paraphrase Bill Cosby, "and the reason we have three is because we do not want four," at least right now we do not.  Speaking of one too many, we used to have a dog, Lady.  She was a very pretty pug but pugs are short haired dogs.  Now the reason they are short haired dogs is not because their hair is short but because it falls out before it becomes long hair and twice a year they try to go bald they shed so much.  It was just too much and now she lives with my brother-in-law's family which is where she started in the first place.

Life has been quite interesting lately.  I work for a sewage treatment plant in the MIS department.  My own official title is programmer/LAN technician.  Since about February of this year my working title has been "The MIS Department."  That was about the time that the MIS director, my boss, was hired as the new human resources manager.  The entertaining thing was that it was decided that he should remain the MIS director as well.  I will simply say that we could barely keep up with the workload before February and that since then I only see my boss, who really is a great guy by the way, for about five hours each week...maybe...sometimes.  Well last week we finally managed to add a third guy, really this brings us back up to two, to the department.  Now if we can just manage to hold onto him when the budget cycles in January I might actually be able to catch up on the programming side of things.  Only time will tell.

I would tell you more about myself, but I don't want to scare you away too quickly : -).

This entry authored by Tyran at 16:56

One quick note on the layout of the site, it's ugly right now.  What more can I say?  I'll fix it eventually until then I hope you'll not go blind : -).

This entry authored by Tyran at 17:53

Wed, 22 Aug 2001

What a day this has been!  I took today off for two reasons.  My wife was scheduled for a consult with her neurosurgeon and she wanted me to tend to the younger two children while she took our oldest school shopping.  Seems like that should be simple enough and if that was all that were happened it would be.  We were able, amazingly, to get in early to see the neurosurgeon.  He gave us great news, I think.  He said that he would like to continue a nonsurgical approach to correcting my wife's back problems.  This means taking large doses, up to 2,400 mg per day, of Motrin for six months, daily exercise and no heavy lifting for the rest of her life.  So far so good.

Then we returned home, or rather we went to her mother's house to pickup the kids.  She asked me, her mother that is, if I had received any emergency phone calls from work.  I told her that I hadn't and asked why she had asked.  She then told me that one of the sewage plants was dumping raw sewage into the river and she wondered if it was the plant where I work.  From her description it sounded like the plant just south of where I work.  So I didn't think anything else about it and we drove home and the school shopping experience began as planned.

I jumped online to check my Email server for any trapped viruses or messages with attachments that needed to be scanned and forwarded to the appropriate mailboxes.  I found a very curious thing:  my servers were sitting at the login prompt and that only happens when there has been a power outage.  Someone far in the back of my mind began to quietly gibber.  I went to our local television station's WebSite and quickly found a breaking story regarding the sewage bypass.  The phrase "largest of three treatment plants" hit me like a ton of bricks, that could only be my work.  There had been a large rain storm last night and the night before.  The first one had caused a major power outage which oddly enough did not impact the plant the second storm was smaller and had the same basic effect.  However, whenever we can possibly anticipate a power outage we switch from utility power to our own generators so as to avoid a power outage.  This morning when utility power was brought back on-line a capacitor exploded and caused an electrical fire.  Tomorrow is going to be...I just don't have the words for it.  I'm just glad no one was hurt.

On a more trivial note, two major drawbacks to dictation software is that the thing hasn't a clue on punctuation and the screen saver still kicks in because no one is using the keyboard!

This entry authored by Tyran at 18:28

Fri, 24 Aug 2001

I just was not up to making an entry yesterday.  What a nightmare, although I was able to only put in eight hours yesterday it was an exhausting eight hours.  The smoke and soot from the fire (if you'll remember there was a major fire at my place of employ day before yesterday) was everywhere in the power-gen building (that building houses five large engines which supply up to 60 percent of our electrical needs each day).  It turns out that the soot conducts electricity and it caused three of our desktop machines in our main control room to short or ground out.  We managed to get two of those back online but the five PCs in the control room will all need to be cleaned thoroughly just to make sure that they won't short circuit.  We'll be running under manual control for awhile but that's better than being thrown into a panic if one of the computers failed again.  Hopefully Monday will see replacement parts for all of our network gear.  It all has the same problem of being full of soot.

Today was spent trying to return to some form of normalcy but that's a whole other story.

Well I've had my whine for the day, although I do not want this to become a daily whine sampler.  I think I will go work on the layout for this page.

This entry authored by Tyran at 19:29

Sat, 25 Aug 2001

Welcome to the Whinery!

Welcome to the Whinery Behind the Beaded Curtain.  Like I said yesterday, I don't want this to become a daily whine sampler but I'm one that loves a pun and the imagery is, in my mind, superb.  The only bad thing about it is that I spent all of last night, well not all night, trying to decide what to name this site.  Due to the hour and my somewhat melancholy state of mind, Whinery Behind the Beaded Curtain really tickled my fancy and so here we are.

Well I'm off to work on the layout now, no really . . . I will . . . really.

This entry authored by Tyran at 08:42

Just lovely, work just called and it appears that the security computer is having personality conflicts and refuses to talk to itself . . . that's a long and involved story that I'm not going to go into right now.  Hopefully, I can just clean the case out (it was in the control room and so it's probably full of soot) and make the problem go away.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:39

Well it would appear that the hardware harridans and software specters are looking kindly upon me today.  Hans called me while I was on my way to inform me that he could still manually control all the security systems and that I did not need to come in and fix the computer!  It's amazing how those little dark clouds can, when they disappear, make a wonderful day seem even better.

This entry authored by Tyran at 13:11

Sun, 26 Aug 2001

Well, I've managed to get the layout finished.  Now to work on the style sheet. . . .

This entry authored by Tyran at 18:30

Mon, 27 Aug 2001

Well, it's done at last.  The CSS file is now in place and instead of hot pink back-grounds with Lime green text we have...well, this!

Every couple of days I look in on the EFF and to get the latest information on the Dmitry Sklyarov case.  Having read the DMCA in part (it's a monsterously long winded document) I recognize that those who wrote it fully intended to protect fair use rights.  Unfortunately, they have it wrong, very, very, wrong.  If they had it right, Niels Ferguson would have published his paper on the flaws in HDCP.  Instead he has chosen to censor himself to avoid persecution under the DMCA.  The thing that really chills me to the bone about Niels' decision is that he's Dutch and sitting at home in Amsterdam.  Under the DMCA, he can be jailed the moment he enters the US if he publishes his paper.  It's bad enough that we have to live under this law but to force it upon all nations of the world is inane and arrogant at best.  By that reasoning, we should all turn ourselves over to the Taliban as we're all breaking Afghanistani law at this very moment.

I had better go to bed before I work myself into a complete fit over this.

This entry authored by Tyran at 21:12

Tue, 28 Aug 2001

Fahim was kind enough to send me a preview copy of BlogPlus.  It's working quite nicely.  The tag highlighting makes the entry much more readable within Blog itself and spell check is always a good thing to add...especially with my spelling!

It's Tuesday and the only day that's busier in my weekly schedule is Sunday, so this might well be all I'll write today.

This entry authored by Tyran at 15:40

It turns out that fate has placed me before my keyboard once again today.  I am amazed at the waste (no sewer pun intended) that the private sector tries to force upon government and municipal agencies.  We were given a cost estimate on replacing our network gear that was hammered during the fire of last week: ~$15,380 for the hardware alone.  The accounting department passed the estimate along to me and within 45 minutes I had cut the price, with identical hardware mind you, to ~$10,700.  Within another 45 minutes I had cut it again to ~$10,200 by splitting the purchase between two vendors..  I know that Cisco gear isn't the cheapest to be found but half the gear I found at GSA pricing and the other half was the second vendor's publicly available price!

There are some topics that I just refuse to broach with anyone but family, one of the big ones is criticism of family members.  As such, I shall simply say that if ones doctor says to NEVER do something, one should NEVER do that thing.  NEVER!

Have you ever had a talent that you just can't stand sometimes?  I have been told numerous times through my life that I have an extremely soothing voice.  This comes in handy when I'm putting the kids to sleep or trying to calm someone's jangled nerves.  OTOH, it's a royal pain when I can put my spouse to sleep faster than knock-out drops and I still have a hundred things to say about the day that I just have to share with someone.  I'll let you guess why I'm sitting at the keyboard at this hour.

Tonight I saw something that thrilled me.  A retired school teacher and I work with a group of eleven sixteen to eighteen year old young men.  He and I act as advisors and help these young men organize and carry out activities designed to help them become active members of the local community.  During the past six months we've seen a dramatic drop in interest among "our boys."  Tonight the other advisor, unbeknownst to me, asked the most reserved of our boys to call a handful of the others and remind them of tonight's activity (a desert eating and calendar planning meeting).  I have never seen this young man look as eager, enthusiastic and confident as he did tonight when he arrived with two boys I haven't seen for nearly two months.  If you have ever wanted to make a difference in someone's life, volunteer to work with your community's youth.  Being a husband and father is the very most rewarding thing I have ever done but as we all know, because we did it too to whatever degree, teenagers tend to look away from father and mother and seek out other role models.  I try to help steer these eleven young men toward being law abiding citizens who are able to provide for themselves and their families in the hope that when my children are teenagers someone else will be there to listen and advise when mom and dad become old fuddy duddies that just don't understand.

This entry authored by Tyran at 23:04

Wed, 29 Aug 2001

One quick note.  There will soon be a "Vintage Whine" page where all the past Daily Whine Samplers will be stored.  Stay tuned to this same station for further information.

This entry authored by Tyran at 00:00

Firstly, I must say thank you to Fahim Farook, he has added a link to The Whinery on his page that promotes Blog.  I must mention as well, that BlogPlus as great an improvement over Blog as Blog is over other methods for creating blogs.  I'm not sure when it will become publicly available but if you like Blog, and I know you do, grab BlogPlus the minute it hits the shelves!

P.S. it appears that The Whinery Behind the Beaded Curtain has made it onto Fahim's daily reading list.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:39

The Internet is a truly amazing thing.  About a month ago I put the following two words: blog standalone, into the Google search page.  The second link listed was The Developer's Corner.  Only minutes later I downloaded Blog and began creating a template so I could move my wife's blog from Blog Spot to another server as she had said Blog Spot was too slow.  She was amazed when I told her that I had contacted the developer to discuss some problems and to make some feature requests.  While I was not amazed by this, I have been very gratified by the quick responses made by Fahim and even more thrilled by the level of camaraderie that he has extended to myself and my wife.  OK, I'll get off the mutual appreciation soap box, at least for now.

I received a very intriguing Email today.  It was from the director of Project Gutenberg, it appears that sometime in December of this year that Project Gutenberg wants to set a world record for giving away free books.  For those unfamiliar with Project Gutenberg, here's a brief explanation: Project Gutenberg takes public domain texts, transcribes them into plain text files, and then makes them publicly and freely available.  The texts of approximately 4,000 books will be burned on as many CDs as possible and then those CDs will be distributed to as many schools, libraries, literacy groups, you name it, as possible.  If only 100,000 CDs can be distributed, that will amount to 4 million books being distributed on one day.  A very noble and lofty goal indeed.
Go To Project Gutenberg

This entry authored by Tyran at 19:45

Thu, 30 Aug 2001

No post today, just got home (21:59) from moving the neighbor from a basement apartment to a townhouse apartment across the apartment courtyard.  So thankful that we're no longer renting. . . .

This entry authored by Tyran at 21:59

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