Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Fastr

A Flickr game where you try to guess the common tag of randomly chosen images from Flickr.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Just Saying No

One of the largest banks in the US just says no to funding eminent domain projects .

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Goodbye Pharmedica

After 10 years of faithful service I bid goodbye to Pharmedica... and Pharmedica bids goodbye to me. The last day was capped off by a tasteful and tasty evening at Hanami's in Clinton.

Thank you for the sendoff, everybody, and for the going away gift.

Links:
Flickr photo set
Pharm Gate Ajar... [internal]

Goodbye Mazda Valdez

After 10 years of faithful service, I bid goodbye to the Mazda Valdez B3000. The odometer had over a 169k miles on it, but after correcting for oversized tires it was probably closer to 190k. It had gotten to the point where the repairs required to keep it running was more than the truck was worth. Rusted out oil pan, depleted rear brakes, sticky transmission, leaky coolant system, and gas mileage that only an oil barron could love...


Ye olde B3000, as she was the day after I first moved to Connecticut...


...and the legacy she kept leaving...


...and leaving.

Well, she's going to a good family close by where I'll be able to keep track of her and make sure she's being treated fairly. They have a handy-man in the family who can keep up the maintenance on her.

In the meantime, we've acquired her replacement.



It's a Ford Ranger rather than a Mazda B series truck, but it's the same thing more or less. 10 years newer, larger engine (4 liter vs. 3), more horsepower (207 hp vs. 140), and an automagic instead of a stick (so the Mrs. can drive it). The xtra-cab area actually has suicide doors, so getting junk back there is easier. There is a bed cover to reduce the tailgate-air-brake effect, and it's power everything inside. Swell!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Towers of Pennies

An amazing photo collection of various cantilevered structures made out of pennies, euros, poker chips, etc. Well, the structures are amazing but the quality of the pictures leave a little to be desired.

Phaeton Phactory

I don't know if all VWs are made in factories like this, but everything looks so clean you could eat off the machinery.

Think This Guy Is Bitter?

"A stinking helmet signed by peyton manning......."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Your Tax Dollars At Work

The basement of the West Virginia capitol apparently has a get-up that should get the RIAA's attention.

Tickets Via Cell Phone

The future may not be just cashless but also paperless. A couple of companies have come together to introduce technology allowing you to use your cell phone as a ticket.

Via Slashdot.

Scriptural Literalism?

The weekly carnival of "God or Not" is up over at Back of the Envelope, hosted by Donald Crankshaw. This episode's topic is on "Scriptural Literalism" (not necessarily scriptural inerrancy, although there is a relationship between the two) and presents arguments from both non-theists and theists.

Monday, January 16, 2006

18 Tricks to Teach Your Body

Impress your friends! A little sample, on how to cure the dreaded Slurpee Tumor:

13. Thaw your brain!

Too much Chipwich too fast will freeze the brains of lesser men. As for you, press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, covering as much as you can. Since the nerves in the roof of your mouth get extremely cold, your body thinks your brain is freezing, too," says Abo. "In compensating, it overheats, causing an ice-cream headache." The more pressure you apply to the roof of your mouth, the faster your headache will subside.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pharm Gate Ajar, I Make My Escape

The eagle has landed. Elvis has left the building. The bird has flown the coup. The excrement has collided with the oscillator. It's the end of an error era.

After nearly ten years of tending all things technical at my current place of employment, I've finally decided to move on and take up gainful employment elsewhere. Some have known that I've been a bit frustrated with my personal job situation for about three years now, but it escalated a bit over the course of 2005 and really came to a head (for me) during the month of November.

There really isn't an underlying "the sky is falling" type of theme related to my decision to leave. It's actually a good place to work and there is a lot of work to do. I just think it's time for me to go.

So, round about this time a long time friend of mine alerted me to the fact that the job market had significantly improved during the latter part of 05. The last time I (really) tried the job market was 2001 when it was headed well south. I only had three interviews that year. One was a thank-you-but-goodbye, while the other two were somewhat disastrous in different ways -- I showed up 20 minutes late for one where I didn't have a clue where I was driving to, and the other one was one September 11th. I followed up with three interviews in 2002 with folks who wanted to work with me but didn't seem to have the budget for it at the time.

This time around has been a bit different. There have been consistent queries, and I received an offer almost immediately after my first interview. The position seemed pretty good for what I was looking for. It's a full-time developer/architect/consultant position. I took a slight pay cut, but I have a fraction of the responsibility I am leaving.

It was ten years ago I left my last place of employment in San Diego in preparation to take the job I am currently leaving. That was a wild ride and a definite turning point in my life. I have a box of photos next to my desk here at home from that trip, which I plan on posting online at some point. It's a shame that I didn't make it to ten years here (February 12), but according to the employee handbook there was nothing awaiting me at this finish line anyhow.

Well, on to the sappy stuff. I'm going to miss the heck out of the people on my team I work with. They are a very gifted, somewhat under-appreciated group of folks who always manage to get it done without going (too) postal about it. It's been a pleasure working for them. Although I am technically their "boss," they generally need very little supervision and have a habit of making me look good. I'm sure we'll cross paths again. At least, I hope so. I also hope that somehow they all get the recognition they deserve. Sorry for crying on you this morning.

There are also those who I had just started to acquaint myself with in the department -- I regret not having the time to get to know you more personally, but it seems apparent to me that the company made a good choice in bringing you on board.

To friends in other departments I work with, I'm going to miss you as well. I've traveled with you, stayed up in the wee hours of the morning helping prep meetings with you, and so on and so forth. You've been a pleasure to work with and for, and I echo the hope of keeping in touch with you over time.

To the nice ladies in A/P - I'm sorry I was such a jerk with the invoices, and my wife thanks you very much for processing my expense reports so promptly.

And now from the sappy to the crappy stuff. Where do I start? Well, [ THIS SECTION DELETED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT TASK FORCE ]

And to those who have not much good to say about me after I leave -- I probably earned it. I'm sorry.

All in all, it has been an honor to work with these folks, and I have also met some really cool people from various vendors over the years. It's been humbling to put your notice in and find out how many people care. I hope what they say about it being a small world and all is really true.

Your Computer on Spyware

Mark Russinovich, the guy who helped blow the Sony DRM root kit fiasco open, documents the horror of what happens when spyware gets a hold of your machine. This particular demonstration occurs after the end user thinks they are installing spyware removal software. He includes a time-elapsed video of the infection in process.