Friday, February 27, 2009

Personal Tragedies for both you and me

My tragedy

Personal emergencies have left me out of the tin shed for a while. And I guess you know what this means. Correct: the free space on my TiVo has rapidly declined. As you can see from the graph the cruft in the multimedia filesystem actually dipped near zero. Shudder. Shiver.

Your tragedy

And of course, I feel your pain as well. My absence has left you without ranty opinion that is so necessary to your own personal growth and learning. For this, I sincerely apologize. I will try to make this up to you.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Garden 2.0 Release Notes

Released: 14:11, 20 February 2009 (CST)

This is notification that the Garden 2.0 system is officially released. Please take the time to read through these release notes as this information may be important for your continued access and operation of the Garden 2.0 system.

Upgrade Issues/Procedures

  • During the upgrade, firewalls were disabled. In some cases it became common for Garden users to access the system by means other than one of the 2 approved GUI[1] systems. Please note that after the upgrade, this is no longer possible. Access via one of the 2 GUIs is now the only approved mechanism of access.
  • The RED Security System™ was also disabled during the upgrade. Any intrusion events have not been detected or logged. Although there is no evidence of any such intrusion, please note that while RED[2] was inactive we can make no assumptions that intrusions did not occur.
  • There appeared to be a grounding issue when the additional capacity was originally added. However, this problem went away when we defragmented using the Tiller application.
  • Legacy system Tree 1.0 was downgraded to Stump 0.75 almost a year ago. Stump 0.75 was found to impede access to the new Garden 2.0 systems and was further downgraded to Stump 0.1. It is unlikely that removal of Stump 0.1 will be possible in the near future.

Fixed in this Release

  • All Blackberry 3.x systems are now accessed via the Garden 2.0 system. Note that in Garden 1.0, Blackberry 3.0 access was outside the firewall. This problem has been resolved. Access to Blackberry 3.x by the Firefox is expected to no longer be possible.
  • All Blueberry systems (versions 1.x through 4.x) are now accessed via the Garden 2.0 system. There will no longer be access to these systems outside the firewall. Blueberry 1.x systems are expected to have small amounts of data output this year, thus needing protection via the RED Security System™. Output from versions 2.x through 4.x are not expected this year.
  • There is an estimated capacity increase of approximately 40 percent. Initial estimates before the upgrade were nearer to 80 percent. However, Blackberry 3.0 systems and Blueberry 1.0 and 2.0 applications used up more space than was initially estimated. An additional estimated 55% increase of capacity over Garden 1.0 is expected with upgrade to Garden 3.0.
  • You now may use all newly available capacity with the API.[3]
  • The Rational Rose Software is included in Garden 2.0 and is now behind the firewall. Maintenance of this software will have to occur via the approved GUI, though it is expected to display properly outside the firewall.

Unresolved/Known Issues

  • Blackberry 2.1 and 2.2 systems and Grape 1.0 systems are still outside the firewall. They are also not protected by the RED Security System™. At this point in time, there are no plans to upgrade Garden to include Blackberry 2.1 and 2.2 users. The problem here is with the Tractor network that lies between Garden 2.0 and the Blackberry 2.x systems. It is not possible to allow access due to the Tractor network and its use of UDP.[4]
  • Due to the inclusion behind the firewall, it is expected that access to Blackberry 3.x systems will have increased latency. Measured latency during testing seems to be acceptable, though further latency testing should be done.
  • Garden 2.0 is known to be accessible to gopher.
  • The new capacity is may have some amount of weedly output due to random seeding.
  • Strawberry 2.0 systems are not included behind the firewall and will not be included until the version 3.0 release of Garden. They are, however, covered by installation of the RED Security System™. This is known to diminish but not eliminate intrusions.

Migration Plan

  • Garden 3.0 is expected to be released next year.
  • Garden 3.0 upgrade requires removal of Tree 2.0. Tree 2.0 was expected to be removed this year. It was not removed, however due to the overabundance of log entries in the Firewood system. Every effort has been made to reduce these log entries in house. However, it is recommended that outside contractors be called in for analysis and removal of some of these log entries. It is unlikely in the forseeable future that we will be able to reduce the log entries in house. It is expected that most of these log entries occurred from use of the IKE protocol.
  • Garden 3.0 upgrade also requires removal or distribution of Haybale 2.0.
  • An investigation should be done to determine if a third GUI needs to be added to increase throughput. If there is any expected interface with the Tractor network, it will have to occur with a new GUI that has increased capacity.

Other Known Bugs

  • cut worms
  • june bug grubs
  • grass hoppers
  • aphids


  1. Gate User Interface
  2. Raccoon Electrocution Device
  3. Appropriate planting interface
  4. Unusually Dense Poundage

Thursday, February 19, 2009

History Shistory

It is strange to me that politicians do not study history. Sure they look for sound bites and fictionalize some real historical characters to make them heroes or villains. But it seems they pay more attention to reruns of Laverne and Shirley than they do to history. And what is of even more concern is that they cannot even remember recent history -- like what happened a year or two ago.

The example that I am referring to (or the most recent) is Obama's rescue of the housing market. As I sit here listening to the morning "news" (or infotainment) they lay out the plan:

  • artificially make the interest rates lower than they should be, so folks could make their payments
  • set aside a big sack of cash for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to back up bad loans -- make sure there is a big net promoting housing, making people less fearful of housing costs

The HUD secretary is bumbling about how great the plan is right damn now. He tells us that part of this plan is to make sure the banks have some skin in the game. The government needs to make sure the banks take on some of this risk... not just the taxpayer.

I think the spin for this plan sums it up best. Obama's own words were "It will not rescue the unscrupulous or irresponsible. And it will not reward folks who bought homes they knew from the beginning they would never be able to afford.”

Okay. Sure. That sounds just fine, Mr. President. Let's only rescue those that were responsible, scrupulous and bought homes they could afford. Let's see.... how could we determine who was irresponsible? How could we determine who bought something they could not afford? I know! How about the folks that can't make the payment? Jesus frigging Christ in a shopping cart. Your own words make so little sense. If you are being foreclosed on aren't you in a home you cannot afford -- by definition? Wasn't your purchase irresponsible?

And, lets just go with this plan... just for a teeny tiny second. It's a fine plan. It's meant to reverse the problems in the housing market. Let's see: How did we get here? Oh, I remember:

  • we artificially made the interest rates lower than they should be
  • our presidents have been standing up, promoting affordable housing, pleading for home ownership for those that cannot currently afford it. (Yes, presidents. Plural. Bush II and Clinton both loved this issue.)
  • we set aside a huge sack of cash for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to make sure we backed up bad loans -- basically PROMOTING them -- urging the banks to give out risky loans
  • Oh, and we've had some serious bank problems recently. I think basically because banks were urged to have some skin in the game of providing risky loans.

So, listen up politicians. Listen really closely. I'll use verbs. I'll type slowly. And I will use multiple examples:

  • if you want to lose weight, you do not eat more. You must change your behaviour.
  • You do not cure the DTs with a good stiff drink
  • You do not cure lung cancer with cigarettes
  • And for god's sake: if you promote bad loans, the economy crashes, you don't fix it by promoting bad loans.

Nobody wants to see a bunch of people get kicked out of their house. It's painful. But, sadly, foreclosure is the cure. It might take a little time, but writing off the bad loans, dusting ourselves off and getting back to business is the only way to fix this. Recreating the problem is not just a non-cure. It's a means to make the problem bigger.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tardo Tidbits was taken

Okay, I am well aware there is a last name pronounced Moe-Ran. That's totally beside the fact. I've watched enough Bugs Bunny cartoons and read enough Fark to know that moran and maroon are both valid synonyms for moron.

Normally, I am not a fan of marketing. Seriously. I find marketing to basically be the art of selling me crap I don't want or need to buy. It is so... Ark Ship B. But in this case, I think someone might want to have a talk with a marketing professional.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Obama quote

"They did not choose more of the same in November ... They did not send us here to turn back to the same tried and failed approaches that were rejected because we saw the results. They sent us here to make change with the expectation that we would act."

Oh thank god. Finally someone understands. So... we are not going to use the same failed approaches of the previous administration (and the administration before that.) I assume this means:
  • the government will no longer be spending money it does not have
  • the government will not be bailing out failed businesses or embracing socialist policies
  • the executive branch will no longer push religion and will finally understand separation of church and state -- by first abolishing "faith based initiatives."
  • the government will not throw the entire economy upside down by demolishing one sector ("housing" for example) by attempting to build that sector artificially "for the good of the common man."
I can only assume, from this quote, that Obama has decided to finally and fully embrace capitalism.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

No appropriate title

I am reminded of a scene from Four Weddings and a Funeral. It's been a long time since I saw it so let the corrections to my adapted misquote go:

Sam was a bastard. He was sort of bitchy and always backtalked everything you said to him. But he was my bastard. He was my bastard in that, in a way, he was my first cat. Not the first cat in my life, but the first I ever really bonded with. Maybe it is symbolic of how much alike we were.

He'll be missed.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


[Editorial note(s):
  1. It appears I am now taking requests. I would explain, but I won't. I could say it's a long story, but it isn't. It's just not a particularly good story.
  2. I never miss an opportunity to plug the band Apocalyptica, so I was sneaky on putting that in the title, though it has no bearing whatsoever on the rant. If you've never heard Metallica played on the cello, your life is incomplete. I don't care what your musical tastes are, you'll like it. I promise.]

Self awareness and evaluation time: I've been living off the grid[1] for two and a half years -- living in a 600 square foot metal tool shed in the woods in the middle of nowhere with the wife (Ellie May), 2 shelter rescue dogs and 3 bulimic cats. My threat level with the federal government has officially been downgraded from "unibomer wannabe" to "mostly harmless." At at some point I start to wonder: Who's the crazy next door? No, not next door in the physical sense of the word.[2] But, you know, in the general area. Out here in the country, it's an odd mix of tin sheds (me), 3 bedroom brick affairs, monster doctor/lawyer houses, geodesic domes and the occasional tar paper shack meth lab.

I was driving by "never smiles or waves scary Viet Nam vet guy" as he painstakingly hand watered the drainage ditch.[3] And I started to wonder: how many tightly wound nut jobs live within a 5 mile radius -- ready to go sproing at any moment. Sure there's a Google API plugin to find the nearest sex offender... But where's my Ruby Ridge Google? I want a map with a little confederate flag markers and a satellite view where I can zoom in and see the catacombs of broken school buses buried in the back yard.

The funny thing with these people is that, while they are all waiting on the impending doom of the next disaster, they're not all waiting on the same disaster. You've got your basic "housing market/stock market crash" guys, "racial riot expectations/Klan" folks and your basic "impending nuclear holocaust/terrorist briefcase dirty bomb" guys. They all have 6 months of food and a 55 gallon drum of gasoline stashed away. They're just waiting on different disasters. But the sad truth here is: There has always been some fire on the horizon. There has always been impending doom. Yet, mysteriously we still keep chugging along.[4]

And I do mean always. Just in the last fifty years, I can name a multitude of them off the top of my head: the cold war, the bay of pigs,[5] the Carter energy crisis, Reagan's star wars, Y2K,[6] the expected tribulations following the imminent second coming of Jebus,[7] asteroid strike, Mel Gibson, global warming, nuclear war, Islamic terror... I could go on, but I had to take a breath. It makes me wonder a few things, though.

First of all, what's the payout for all the hoarders and woodland creatures? Sure, they see it as insurance of sorts. And to some degree I understand that. I live within the last mile (literally) of a power line branch. I understand I am last in line for power restoration when a disaster occurs. I understand the need for a generator, a garden and a little bit of food. But the idea of hoarding a 6 month supply of food and a big sack of real gold just doesn't reach me. That food is just not likely to last and will have to be constantly replaced. Let's say you spent $10,000 on food for the coming apocalypse in the late 70's. Then assume, instead you put it in the stock market. It would be an underestimate to say it would be worth almost $100,000 some thirty years later -- even in today's down market.[8] And if the apocalypse comes and you really have a large sack of real gold, you may find it extremely difficult to defend or find the government may want to take it. Your best bet here is to just have a skill and a willingness to trade it.[9] But isn't that pretty much true all the time?

But most importantly I want to know: how do I make a big sack of cash off of these folks? Selling freeze dried banana chips in bulk isn't my thing. I am unlikely to open up a gun store. The school districts have the lock on broken down buses. I fear that the reasonable, rational model may win out again here. I suspect the way to win in castastrophear is to buy into widely diversified mutual funds. "What?" you say. "You're a crazier than a commune dweller. The market is sunk." Precisely. And here I sit without a real income. One lowly Unix administrator in a county that has 15 Unix systems -- 2 of which are mine. It's time for me to find an income stream or two and sink a big fat wad of it in the market. Remember: the goal is actually to buy low. So what if it tanks a little more. Low means its on sale. Turning it down would be like saying "I'll buy the Costco tennis shoes if they ever get up to $30 a pair. I don't want them at $14."

Besides, Ellie May wants a real kitchen. And I don't get home made pie crust until then.

  1. Well, socially at least. Not physically.
  2. That would be (a) "Have you found a spiritual home guy" and (b) the "everyone move in with grampa before he croaks" family. I guess in 30 months I should know their names, huh?
  3. Yes, I am serious. He does it absolutely every day. No, I don't know why he does it.
  4. At least here in US... There's poor bastards in forever unstable lands that mark time by when the next mortar round falls. Whistle. Boom. -- Ooh, tea time.
  5. Mmmmm. Pork
  6. Y2K was my personal fave! As a geek that expected a big fat lot of nothing to happen, I enjoyed the biggest paycheck of my life for the least amount of work. We weren't even allowed to touch anything for a month before because we might break it. The real scare comes in 2038 and no one will hype that one.
  7. And why in hell would you worry about the problems of the second coming? Is it because you have enough faith he's coming back but afraid you chose the wrong flavor? Are you afraid you picked a dunking when you should've gotten sprinkles?
  8. This is such an underestimate. This just follows the Dow 500 price without dividends. Reinvested dividends would make this figure huge, but computing that sounds like work.
  9. I can see it now. A post nuclear world and there are bands of IT directors wandering the countryside seeking Perl hackers.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


oh cwap. You mean to tell me that my 9 year old Windows operating system that I use once a year for taxes is going to have to be replaced!?! (That's tongue in cheek, we all know a usable windows 2000 did not exist in the year 2000. Its probably only 7 or 8 years old.) Does it matter that I haven't had a job in 2 years and don't owe any taxes?

I demand Ubuntu Turbo Tax.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowel

I am not a sports fan. That may come as a real shock that a heterosexual American male couldn't give a rats ass about sports -- but its a fact. It probably comes from a geeky upbringing where I was always dead last in a race and spent more time on the bench than on a field.

"That's okay Sporky. Did you know Babe Ruth had the highest strike out record in the league?"

No, actually I didn't. I didn't know that because I didn't follow sports. But I am also willing to bet that he hit it occasionally, okay? Otherwise he wouldn't have a cool nickname and we wouldn't be talking about him.

But, as I often do, I am getting off the track. The point I was going to make, if it actually could be considered a point, was that even though I don't watch sports, I do watch the Super Bowl. It has become a festival of junk food, beer and funny commercials to me. Sadly for the NFL, I actually am known to TiVo the game and start late... fast forwarding through the game to the commercials.
Oh, and as the clever title implies: I eat. Lots.
Back to my non-point, though. Somewhere there is someone getting paid a whole lot of money for creativity to come up with these commercials. And the best think someone at Budweiser could come up with is that it has "drinkability."
Really? That's the best you have? The fact that, if under duress, one could possibly choke it down -- is that really the best thing about your product? I mean, showing big boobley dancing girls is likely to sell more beer than that. What phrases actually were passed over for "drinkability?"
  • It doesn't make you vomit. Much.
  • It won't kill you.
  • Better than the warm spit at the bottom of the bottle.
  • Have 2 really good beers. Then have one of ours before the buzz wears off.
  • More portable than tap water.... though maybe not quite as potable.
  • Colder than urine.
  • Hold your nose and have a sip