Switching to WordPress

Hey Blog.

I don't know if there's anyone still reading the blog at this address, but if there is, the new address for my blog is http://www.ueberlandowiki.net/wordpress/ I have an RSS feed, which is epic. Unfortunately, I have not decided whether or not I will continue porting my blog posts to Facebook.

So, go to my new blog at http://www.ueberlandowiki.net/wordpress/



Back in Flag!

Well, I'm back in Flagstaff, and am totally happy to be here. I'm not working tonight, but because I'm crazy, I'm here at the office, taking advantage of their newer/faster iMac here, and meeting my coworker Molly, who is also a Mac user. Yes! The Mac Collective at the helpdesk has grown, and I'm sure will continue to do so.

Earlier today, I saw Wall•E with Dad and Brenda, and then we had Red Lobster before they dropped me off at Gabaldon and drove off into the gentle rain, on their way back to Kingman.

In two weeks, I'll be going back to Kingman, but it'll be nice to be here for awhile.

For the next two weeks, I'll probably just hang out, and work a lot of hours at the helpdesk. The phones are covered pretty well, but I've got a few side-projects I want to pursue. More on that later.


Epic Storm

After today's big day at the old property, I was afforded a nice opportunity to take a good nap.

I woke up at the end of the nap to a pretty epic storm. The rain was coming down harder than I'd seen it in the past few years, which was pretty hard. There were little torrential streams of water running around, and most of the backyard here was full of water.

The epic part of the storm lasted about an hour, and now it's just a light sprinkle, and the sky remains gray in all directions. Luckily, the landscaping here is functional as well as beautiful, and none of it has washed away.

A bit later on, Dad and I went out driving to see one of the washes near here. I got some interesting pictures, so one of those is probably what I'll use for today's Photo365, whenever I catch up (three weeks or more, ouch!) on that processing. On the topic of photography, I just have to say that I really love the color of the sky and the color of everything in the really soft light that happens after a good storm with rain.


ActiveDirectory: Ridiculously Easy

I'm just here to express my disappointment in Apple. I went ahead and installed VMWare on my laptop today, and set up a new Server2003 machine, and an XP Pro machine.

Once Server2003 was installed, it took me all of ten minutes to set up the fileserver, and use Microsoft's clever "first server" configuration implement to create a fully functioning network controller, including DNS and ActiveDirectory.

Three minutes later, I had the XP Pro box joined to my AD domain, and I was logging in as a domain user. That's really easy! If we were doing this setup for the KHS Photo network, all I would have had to do is help Kate learn how to use Windows' user manager, and then get printing running, which I expect is also really easy.

Right now, I'm installing and setting up the second XP machine, and afterward, I need to install SQL2005, SharePoint Services 3.0, and Exchange 2007. And I'm sure there are a few other things.

It's very disappointing that Microsoft software costs so much, but I'm beginning to suspect there's a reason. This stuff is really easy, and there's a very high level of fit and finish on their server products, at least in this respect.

I'm going to admit that I'm a little disappointed in Apple. If anyone has a server product that's this easy to set up... it should be Apple.


Return Trip

My brother and I are safely back at home now, and today I'm just relaxing at home. I didn't go online very much for this particular train trip, so I've had a bit of time to gather some more thoughts about train trips. But first, the overview!

Bright and early on the morning of the 5th, my brother and I showered and were taken to the Lapeer Amtrak station by our grandmother. We hugged our goodbyes and #365 The Blue Water whisked us away to Chicago. That train is cool because it's just so different than what we've typically got out here in the west. It was three Horizon Fleet coaches, and an AmFleet I cafe/lounge, with a very small "Business Class" section. Each seat has 120v power available, which is a nice consideration for a regional style train, and it helps make up for the fact that the seats don't have much legroom. I used that part of the trip mainly for listening to the Retro Mac Cast.

After that, my brother and I wandered around Chicago Union Station for a bit, although the mood was dampened when I let him know that I really didn't want him wandering around without me. We found our gate and sat around. Luck would have it that I was able to find an open wifi signal, strong enough to connect to the NAU VPN and check my e-mail in less than ten minutes.

Right on time, we boarded #3 The Southwest Chief. There were a lot of people aboard, which is nice to see. Because I'd run my battery nearly dry at the station, I decided it might be a good idea just to leave the laptop alone, so I allowed myself just to sit there and look out the window, and listen to Retro Mac Cast on my iPod.

What I discovered is pretty amazing. Train trips are completely epic when you just sit around and watch the country pass before your eyes. We saw other trains, we saw houses of all types, and in general, we saw a really good amount of the country. On The Southwest Chief, we passed through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and we'll be ending out back home in Arizona. (Although this train continues to Las Angeles, CA.)

It's really interesting sitting there with the volume on the iPod turned most of the way down, listening to other people's conversation as the country slips away. I'll admit I even slept better this time, although not as well as I would have liked to.


Awkward Moments on the train

My least favorite thing is being around when somebody has to discipline their child. To me, it's bad parenting to have raised your children in such a way that they would act out so much, and need to be disciplined physically in a public place.

Right now, there's a mother and her child who have made their way to the bottom level of the coach, him bawling all the way there, and her pushing and pulling him in order to take him away from general view. I can still hear them, and she is spanking him, and he has not stopped screaming and bawling. I have heard "I don't" or "I want to" but I'm still not certain what's happening.

I think it may be that he doesn't want to be on the train, but I'm not sure. My brother has informed me that it may be because he needs to use the restroom, and the mother is telling him to stop being mean. I'm not sure if that's what it is, but I am continuing to acknowledge that it's a very awkward situation.

If-slash-when I ever have children, I'm going to try to raise them in such a way that this doesn't happen. It's obviously not too hard, because dozens of other families I've observed this trip have not had any such problems. Their children were normal children of course, but they have all been mindful of the fact that the train, while bigger than a bus, is a small place, so small indoor voices should be used. (Also: there were generally no tantrums.)

Cleanup of tags and categories.

One of the things I need to do soon (and after that, on a regular basis) is to make sure all of the articles on the U60 blog have good tags and categories.

This is here mainly as a reminder to myself, but I'm going to start separating the categories, especially since about 90% of the articles on this site are in both the "Life" and "Technology" categories -- I'm going to work on separating those a bit better.

I may also replace or rename the Observations category.

So far, I've been doing a good job with the tags on this blog I think, so I need to go back and give tags to some of the posts that don't have them, and I need to continue the decent job I've been doing with the tags.

So yeah, just some thoughts about the blog.


Visiting Family

I have been putting off writing this post for quite awhile, ever since we arrived in Michigan. At first I was pretty well dissatisfied with most of them, I probably would've written something about how I would probably rather be anywhere else.

Although after having thought about it a bit more, and considered the circumstances, such as how often we used to visit family out in Oregon and Washington, and how rarely my brother and I go to Michigan, I realize that not only is it really not so bad, but I'm glad that we've done this.

For the most part, my brother and I both retained our typical routine from Arizona: sleep in, hang out, visit the same people every day, and in general be absorbed in whatever activity we've brought with us -- but we're doing it with our family from Michigan.

Really though, I have appreciated visiting all of the family here, Aunt Darla and her kids, my cousins. Along with Aunt Angi and our cousin Seth, and Aunt Leisa and one of just one or two cousins who is older than I am, Chelsey

I think one of the things I noticed, and that disappointed me, was the tendency of certain people to... clash. Despite the fact that they're family, I just notice that some people tend to want to go head to head over just about anything. I think the important thing for me to do about that is just accept that it's there, and resolve to try to be less like that on my own.


Ten Months

Well, today is the third of the month! Megan and I have managed to not destroy each other (or feed each other poisoned lightbulbs!) for ten whole months. So it's two more months and we'll have been going out for a whole year. Which is kind of crazy to think about.

So yeah... ten months.



One of the things I always purport to strive for in this blog is posting things in a timely manner. What this usually means is writing something pretty angry one day, but realizing that somehow, I've got posts already scheduled out to like, next Tuesday, so I just post it then.

The problem with that is that when the post finally comes out, if I even let it live long enough to be released, it's no longer relevant because I don't usually stay angry that long. Plus, I suppose that it's in somewhat bad taste to post something angry about someone else.

I suppose it's a bit of a control issue for me, because I would love to have each of my blog entries appear at approximately the same time each day. The problem with that is that it encourages me to start pre-writing posts, or doing posts that aren't up to my standards as quality goes. But for whatever reason, I think that posting in this crazy way will make people like my blog, because I post on such a regular basis.

A much more sincere way to post would be to pick one topic for any given day, and actually spend an amount of time during that one day to write the post, and have it up on that day. Even if it means that people won't read it until the next day, it's still better than doing poorly written posts a few days in advance.

I suppose it's just one of the many things I need to continue considering, about the blog. I definitely want to make my content more timely, so I am probably going to preserve massive pre-writing and scheduling for "away from the computer" days, and giant project posts. Other things in my list entitled "things to think about for the Blog" include whether or not I want to continue posting the same content to two different blogs, and whether or not I ever want to switch my WordPress blog to a better theme.

So much to ponder, so little time.


Nikon D700

Just a note to let everyone everywhere know that today, Nikon has introduced the D700, which is it's "midrange, semi-pro full-frame dSLR." To my eyes, that means "expensive, full-frame D300."

Naturally, having bought my D300 less than a year ago, I am very slightly miffed. But the reality of things is that I probably would've spent all that money somehow anyway (surplus automobile?) and that I really do like the D300, even though all my friends who have Canon 5Ds are rockin' the full-frame sensors.

Of course, the rumors say that there's a Sony Alpha 900 in the works, which is purportedly a 24 megapixel camera with a full-frame, working at a fairly respectable six frames per second, which would probably make it the fastest camera of it's kind. The killer part of the  Alpha 900 rumor is that the whole thing is supposed to cost less than $2000. I think some numbers have been tossed around at about the same cost as the D300.

Ouch, Sony. Ouch.

Young Linux "Geek"

A large amount of this vacation, Patrick and I have been going to our Aunt Darla's house. Darla is my dad's youngest sister, and she has four children. She home-schools them, and for whatever reason, they are all very, very smart.

Darla's oldest son, Wade, is just about a year or two younger than Patrick I think, and since my last visit, he's become a pretty hilarious Linux programmer. He's pretty good at it I presume, he's definitely very quick at getting little file processing and browsing tasks done.

One of the comments he made was that he was a bit surprised that I wasn't able to do programming, as a result of the fact that I seemed like "such a massive computer geek" on my previous visit. Hilariously enough, my previous visit involved me re-combining little videos from my digital camera in Final Cut Pro, and a few other things in Illustrator and Photoshop, on the old PowerBook G4. I was definitely more of a creative arts geek at the time, than a programming geek, or a networking geek like I am now.

Of course, I don't feel too terribly bad about not being able to program, I've got a pretty good understanding of most networking concepts, and I've done pretty well in my studies of directory systems like OpenDirectory and ActiveDirectory. All I've got to do now is implement a few legacy directory systems like NIS or YP on A/UX, and then learn straight-up LDAP on systems like Solaris or IRIX, or even Linux, since those are easier to come by. There's also NetInfo, but I don't have enough (any) OPENSTEP systems running around to be able to do that. Like I said, networking geek.

Hilariously enough, Wade knows almost nothing about networking. He knows what packets are, probably in more detail than I'll ever need or care to have, but he doesn't understand the actual application of it, like how to plug some systems into a Linksys router in order to create a small network. I really wish my virtual machines were working, so I could show him some of the cool things a system like ActiveDirectory can do.

Another benefit of networking my computer to his is that it won't bug him so much when any of my online friends pop up with what he refers to "just punctuation!" There's a whole dialogue that some of my friends online and I have got going that sometimes doesn't use full sentences with proper structure and correctly spelled words. Ah well, I suppose it would be too difficult to explain communication theory and "Grammars" to a 14 year old. More importantly, I don't know if I want to bother.

Hilarity and youngness aside, it looks like Wade has a pretty good future ahead of him in the realm of open source programming. I wouldn't be surprised at all if after a bit of a formal education in computer science and maybe some volunteer work doing something like a Google Summer of Code, he would be able to get hired on at any of the big developers, like Novell, Oracle, or Sun. He could probably get hired at Microsoft too, were he willing to learn the Visual Studio development environment on Windows.

On the topic of the Internet, it's very interesting to see how someone who has access to it so rarely does when they get access to it. At first, Wade was unwilling to accept the idea that the Internet in and of itself was a form of entertainment, which is sort of an inevitability, at least for me. Then he wanted to use it to gain access to games, the one he tried was BZFlag, and that was "interesting" I suppose. If I could successfully get a Linux VM going, or if my Windows VMs were willing to work properly, there's a lot more we could do with even our small network.

Ahwell, one day he'll have more networking experience, I'm sure. I think he's still just amazed at the idea that we were able to connect our two laptops together with Ethernet, and share my silly EDGE connection to the Internet.