Month: March 2006

State in Emergency

Amazing and hard to believe, but global warming has the strangest effects in the islands. The papers are full of stories about the storms that have been hitting Oahu in the past week, all mentioning how nobody has ever seen this kind of weather. More and more blame it on the ability of winter storms to reach farther down to the tropics, and consequently to the islands.

Fortunately things are calming down, and we are enjoying a gorgeous Hamakua day around here. The wind is blustery, but who cares considering it could be raining? The sun is out, even here in Ninole, and being inside the house is amazing.  Let's hope the weather stays this way until tomorrow, when I'll be able to go to the beach for the first time. 

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April Visit

{moszoomimglink:Brad}Latest update, end of March. A tough month, already over a month into the extension. Here is the latest list of things to do (green: HAPPENING; grey: DONE):

  • Wall to the master bedroom and MBR closet
  • All swinging doors (14, plus closets)
  • Fixed doors to the kitchen
  • Drywalls and mud
  • Painting
  • Electrical (rough-in)
  • Electrical (finish)
  • Plumbing (finish)
  • Bathroom and kitchen tiles
  • Honoka`a bedroom
  • Garage
  • Upstairs bathroom tile

Brad says he'll be done by the 16th. I sure hope so, otherwise I just might run out of money…

Rain, Rain, Rain

Back in Ninole, where life is good. I finally have Internet connectivity (thanks to a Verizon card), which helps a lot. Still no kitchen, though, or potable water, so I still drive to Hilo in the morning.

Work on the house is slower even than feared. There are a few drywalls in, the staircase down is closer to final, and the inspector had only three things to complain about:

  1. The bannisters of the main lanai were spaced too far apart (but he's essentially complaining that the building code is too lax in the matter)
  2. The master bathroom has no ventilation (which then turned into not enough ventilation)
  3. The windows of the master bedroom are too low and it's too easy to fall out. He requires screens to be mounted and screwed in place to prevent a fall

That's all good. The mountain is still white in snow, the weather is dreadful (cool and cloudy) and the storms that have been hitting California lately are not going to leave this place alone. There was even a dam break in Kaua`i that killed a few people.

 Meanwhile, I am sitting at the Starbucks, typing on my computer, waiting until it reaches 100% load and working with folks in Menlo Park. Right now, my morning is their lunch time and I am waiting for them to come back.

 Speaking of which: the mosquitoes are back, too. Ferocious as ever. Thank goodness I found an enormous tent for sale at Walmart (12×10, about three times the size of my current affair) and life is easier in it.

Business Hosted Services

The Internet was awash with application service providers that would allow consumers and businesses to perform tasks, even in the very early days of the commercial web. After a few years and a burst of the Bubble, most of the companies that provided online services disappeared, leaving only a very few winners. This was true across horizontals, where only a few of the many related companies survived, and verticals, where only a few types of solutions did.

The bloodbath of 2000-2002 took a lot of ideas and concepts with it that were indeed unworkable and unnecessary. Many that survived that storm recall with particular amazement how the wave of ASP (application service provider) dot-coms cratered without leaving a trace. Consumer hosted services, on the other hand, did much better, as did business-to-consumer services. The former is most perfectly epitomized by the stalwart of consumer sites, Yahoo!, while the latter category is best represented by Amazon.com.

A great many dot-coms got busted because of incompetence of the management team, because of poor choices (in hindsight) as to deployment, cost structure, growth plan, because of the sudden drying up of funds (yes, some really good ideas died just because of the general panic). Some dot-coms though died because their business plan didn't work out, despite early hopes.

Snow in the Bay Area

Who would have believed? The snow that fell on Saturday is still covering Mt. Ham in the South Bay! I am tempted to go and take my snowboard there, to experience a unique thrill. I would take a picture, but the mountain is too far from the house and all I see is a white dot in the landscape.

Switched to Joomla

A new era for content management on this site: I switched from Mambo to Joomla, the new open-managed fork of the old CMS of choice. (I like the open-managed moniker.)
 
The transition was neither hard nor easy. I decided to try the copy instructions: copy the site to a new location, copy Joomla on top of it, then deal with all the problems.
 
Mostly, I had to retrieve files I had changed (like sef.php or the custom image on top). A little extra time went into debugging: I had to change the configuration to go to a different directory, and then revert back.
 

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IM Virus and Yahoo! ID harvesting

I got to work in the morning and found an IM from a colleague with a link in it. It went to a geocities page that requested my Yahoo! account information, and in the morning daze, I entered my information. As it didn’t proceed anywhere, I realized someone was spoofing my information. A panicked run to my Yahoo! account information page, change password several times (to make sure it still worked), sigh a worried sigh of relief.

The problem is with a company that hosts sites of third parties without any supervision. The IM had the timestamp of 19:58 (around 8p), and nobody had shut down the site by 9:30 in the morning. As far as I know, that site is still up (and I warned Yahoo! Paranoids, with whom I still communicate occasionally).

Yahoo! needs to smarten up. I currently use it for my login information, since I trust the company, but that’s something I will have to do without after this experience.
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Steaming, smoking, hot

JP’s class this morning. The usual hard workout, high speed, high intensity, lotsa sweat. I was put in the front row (JP wants me there), with the sun shining from the back and the windows open. I sweat, I run, I chase, I sweat.

It’s time to stretch and slow down, and then the unexpected happens: steam starts rising from my body. The sun plays with it, and the whole class stares at me, the steaming, smoking hot man in red bib short…

Jumping!

Given that we have plenty snow-crazy people, we decided to have an offsite in SLT last weekend. Eight of us went, including three pretty good boarders, and we had a blast!

The snow was not all it was said to be – no 11" on Saturday, for instance, but at most 5" – but who’s complaining? All of us improved our skills, the beginners, intermediate, and advanced snowmen and women, and we had fun with each other.

The three amigos that were not beginners (included me) went down Stagecoach Express on the Nevada side, and found a little ledge on the run, where it turns right and is crossed by a cat track. We tried jumping over it, but there was too much going on. So we decided to go to the small terrain park and try out jumps.

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