Month: April 2007

Comments by jellomizer@slashdot

Great but now can we learn from our past mistakes of the 1990's?

Mistake 1:
Thinking IT is on top of the food chain. No we are not IT is on the bottom of the food chain we need to service everyone. You may get paid more then the other guy and you may be more skilled but who ever you are doing work for is your boss.

Mistake 2: Not being professional. You should not stand out as the IT Guy because everyone else is wearing business casual and you are in tee-shirt and jeans. It is unfair and wrong but it is the way it is you need to dress to fit in. Otherwise you make people uncomfortable if they are uncomfortable your job can be at risk.

Mistake 3: Saying No. They need to get the job done just not doing it because you personally don't like it will not help anyone.

Mistake 4: Saying Yes. Being Blind to problems without brining them up in the beginning and getting someone else above you involved in a solution could lead you working on a quagmire.

Mistake 5: Thinking you are better then everyone else. Just because they don't know the difference between USB and Firewire doesn't make them stupid. Just because you do doesn't make you a genius. Respect the people you are working with, and they will respect you back.

Mistake 6: Respect your boss. They are a lot of bad bosses out there also a lot of good ones. Even if your boss seems to be cut from Dilbert you should give him the respect that they deserve. For being in that position. It means things like not publicly humiliating them and when arguing your point try not to make it personal.

Mistake 7: Trying to change the world. Don't try to change the world just try to make your work environment better. Put your feelings about GNU, Patents, Microsoft…. Aside and focus on getting your work done.

Mistake 8: Money doesn't matter. It does always keep an eye on how you are effecting the bottom line. You can save 10 minutes a day in computation but the cost for you to make that change would take 100 years to recover the costs then it is not worth doing.

Mistake 9: Work should always be fun. If that was the case most people wont have a job. You need to do the annoying stuff as well as the fun stuff. They hire you to do the stuff that others can't or are unwilling to do.

Mistake 10: You are separated from the business. Try to be involved in the business not make yourself a separate identity who just fixes the computers try to keep IT involved in the major decisions.

Mark Twain said…

A solemn, unsmiling, sanctimonious old iceberg who looked like he was waiting for a vacancy in the Trinity.

Autonomous Surveillance Camera

An interesting project for the house in Hawaii – something totally exciting because it's easy to use, yet very marketable. Something I would need myself, and something I absolutely know how to build. It's the perfect project for the time after I quit, hopefully tomorrow.

My frustration with surveillance of my place in Ninole is growing. I never have the slightest idea in what state the house is, and it's something I'd really like to know. The problem is that I have no power here, not Internet connection outside of Verizon Wireless, so it's not easy to get a camera installed.

The idea is to combine three things:

  • A standard webcam to take pictures
  • A standard power generating device, like wind or solar
  • A standard network connection, like VW WAN or WiFi

Combine the three with a Linux computer and a little software, and voila, you have a remote surveillance camera.

Well, not really, you still need two more things: a computer that runs the whole setup (of course using Linux, with which I have made wonderful experiences), and a web service that allows you to set the configuration for the camera and that accepts the camera's pictures.

It's a hot idea: you configure the little device, install it, and then you run off to your web site to check on your camera. Of course, if something malfunctions you are screwed, but after all, you bought the best camera on the market for precisely that reason!!!

The device is perfect for anyone that needs a camera outdoors – do you need to check on your chickens? Want to know who's at the front gate of your compound? Interested in freeway traffic? I think it's a really wonderful opportunity, especially because the need for service is automatic. 

Open Source Phone Network

QTopia Greenphone (linked from Trolltech site)Granted, this is not originally my idea, but I cannot find where I read about it, so please get in touch with me if you know the source.

My frustration with mobile phone networks is growing. My own provider does a few nasty things:

  • Voice mail setup is idiotic: you have to enter your password even if the call dropped and you get in again; you have to listen through the introductory message even though you know the menu options
  • Contracts are bizarre: if you like the two year option, you'll be happy, but why?
  • Surcharges are unreasonable: come on, I get 5000 free  minutes, but you charge me per SMS? How stupid do you think I am?
  • Features are crippled: how come my phone can play my MP3 all day long, but I have to use your (expensive) MP3 for ring tones?

Of course, the answer to all these deficiencies is that it's a way for the carriers to make more money. they compete on the base price, and jack up the charges for anything they consider non-standard.


Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 10

{moszoomimglink:Mozart}Not a great many stories start with the sentence: "So, I was at the Border's store to get on fast Internet, when I wandered off to the classical CD section." Admittedly, sounds like a nerd crossed with a geek meeting a dork. What can I say? Is growing up in Europe an excuse?

In any case, I was perusing (that's a nerd term for you!) the CDs when I noticed the "4 for 3" special in the store. I scoured the place for 4 CDs that might be interesting, paid for them and put them in a bag to be forgotten for a couple of days. Who knows, maybe stale classics get pepped up by a few hours in the Hilo sun?

It's Friday night, and instead of going out to have fun in Hilo (Hilo sun, Hilo fun, am I like paid per oxymoron?) I hang out at home. I mean, really, this place is swanky and I'd rather commune with the cows and pigs on the Marco farm than with their counterpart cows and pigs in town!

Time to unwrap a CD. I choose this wrinkly collection of Mozart piano concertos with recordings by "revered masters" (read: cheap!) and on the second CD I hit pay dirt. 


Progress in the house

Well, get this: during lunch hour, when nobody at work wants to communicate with me anyway (they had sushi, I heard) I got to complete two of the two critical tasks from the other post, and start on the fourth one!

In particular, I fixed the sheeted windows, adding two panes where they had broken (it's SOOO quiet in the main room now, it's almost scary!) and removing a sheet where it had torn, but no sheet was needed (in the upstairs room). Additionally, I moved all of the flooring from outside in. That was a lot of work, actually, and I am glad I could rush it into my lunch hour.

I am rewarded with wonderful weather: the rain of the night gave way to a wonderful sunny day, and I am sitting here at the computer, looking out the giant windows, enjoying the view of the ocean. It's going to be marvelous! 


I am used to that from the old days when I taught classes after college – sporting instructors are terribly high-maintenance, and spinning instructors are no exception. So, to the drama of bikes that are constantly breaking in really bad ways at the Gold's Gym on Brannan, we have a collective of instructors that constantly bad-mouth each other when out of earshot.

I got an inkling of that last year, when JP, one of the instructors, decided I should take over one of his classes because he had to go on a long trip and couldn't find enough subs. I thought it would be a neat experience, and I got ready. 

The day, a Saturday, came, I had about 8 people in class, and we all had a good time. I goofed badly a few times, for instance not realizing that the "Double Left" goes with a fast song, not with a slow one, but all in all the class supported me. They were actually the sweetest, going all the way with me. 


From the main room, while the rain is pounding

Here I am, in the middle of the night, woken up already but set to go for another day of fun in Ninole. The Internet connection works well, and there is nothing to do for the next five hours, until the sun starts peeking through the clouds.

You find me well here in Ninole. I haven't accomplished nearly enough, as usual, and I still have to go to the County to talk with them about my permit. That's set to happen today. For the house, I find I need to do little this time. I set the goal of accomplishing as follows: 


ALC Training Ride

{moszoomimglink:Sausalito}My friends Stephen and James decided they would go to the AIDS LifeCycle ride this year again, and are getting all their friends to help out, or join. After a little bit of prodding, and after a very positive weather forecast, I finally agreed to join them for their Sunday training ride.

I thought it was just going to be a bunch of guys from spinning class, but it turned out to be a major training ride for the whole San Francisco contingent of ALC. So, while I was puzzled as to why we would want to meet at 6:45 for a ride that wouldn't start until 7:30, it all made sense once I saw the about 200 riders congregate.


Trying out StepMania

I remember the first time I saw a bunch of kids hanging around a Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) arcade game. It was at the Metreon in San Francisco, and I was just waiting for the movie to start. 

There I am, watching twelve-year-olds jumping like maniacs, realizing that was a variation of dance that combined arcade game qualities with physical exercise. It sounded like a dream combination: you appeal to the kids' competitive nature to make them work out more. And the whole jumping and twisting looked cool, not at all like the stupid exercises to the tune of video games. I remember the dorky treadmill that had a runner in front of you – my, this was to that what Dragon's Lair was to Pong

Now, a while ago I discovered stepmania, a game that for all intents and purposes is a remake of DDR under the GPL. It runs on a bunch of different platforms, so I tried downloading and running the Linux version – what do you know, it worked just fine, and it allowed me to play the dorky themes from the download page.