Change for change’s sake

Sarah and I went to her parents’ place yesterday for her sister’s birthday/delayed Fathers’ Day celebration.

After lunch, my FIL was watching something on HGTV.  Essentially, other rich & famous would hire this soap actress and her musician boyfuck/husband (they got married while they were shooting the episode) re-do a room.  Budgeting is sketchy.  Even more sketchy is scope.

This guy hired them to do the kitchen.  Perhaps the kitchen needed work.  I don’t know.  I didn’t notice anything wrong with it, myself, but I wasn’t there.

Regardless, they spent zero time doing needs analysis with the owner to find out what he actually needed or wanted to be doing in his kitchen.  Boyfuck/hubby, in between clips of him playing guitar, made some changes.

Meanwhile, Ms./Mrs. Actress went about “fixing” the living/dining room adjacent to the kitchen.

That fireplace is a hole of darkness.  It has to have a mantle.

Oh, let’s put up a chandelier, because this room is too dark when it’s not sunny outside.

Naturally, hanging the chandelier was a pain with a seriously vaulted ceiling, and no place to mount it.

Then the one she spent considerable cash buying wouldn’t fit — too big.

My question remains;  how did this help Joe Homeowner make a grilled cheese sandwich?

Maybe he liked the living/dining room fine the way it was?

I talked to my my engineering grad student brother a bit about this this morning.  IT is full of people like these folks who’ll change things up just on their own whims, not because something actually needs to change.

Sometimes the users’ whims come into play, but proper requirements development keeps you from buying a chandelier that’s too big.  Or buying one in the first place if one isn’t absolutely needed.

All that said, I’m a bad person for thinking that way.  That’s been communicated to me enough.  Yes, I got the memo, Lumbergh.

Still, it’s important to remember that my own personal whim isn’t what matters, ultimately.  Maybe I was hired to build a cooking space that is easier to clean up after butter spatters all over it.  Maybe that left rear burner on the range isn’t working anymore.

I wouldn’t know if I didn’t actually spend the time to find out, and just attacked redoing everything just because I thought the old stuff was ugly.

*headdesk*

 

Giving 340%

Because 110% is lame, cliche, insufficient.  (And 340 is what I came up with for my current work “utilization.”  In quotes, because I’ve still yet to hear a compelling argument for use of the word, “utilize.”)

I haven’t worked today.  I’ve barely glanced at E-Mail.  This will be the case next weekend, too, when I actually take a day of leave for the first time since [redacted] laid me off.

So, what am I doing?

1.  Fighting this trolls from [redacted], working for [redacted].  Jesus might have thrown the money changers from the temple;  I wonder what layer of Hell collections agents are in after they die.  I’m not going to talk too much about that here, now.  I may ramble on about it later.  I mentioned, in passing, to one of the agents that I was starting to think there wasn’t an option for me other than to lawyer up.  I’m thankful one of my professors from XKCD.edu remembered me when I contacted him back in January after [redacted] laid me off.  If I have to drop him a few bills to get this taken care of, so be it.  (Tip of the hat, Mr. Messier.)

2.  ISC BIND is still a PITA.  But I think I got it fixed, finally, on Icecube.  My v6 resolution will work again, even if the v4 to home needs updating again.  Hopefully, the SiXXS PoP in Ashburn stays up.  *sigh*  Cawcks may be my “friend in the digital age,” but they sure haven’t caught up with non-deprecated protocols.  (And, yes, I know I need to buy a DOCSIS3 modem, but even if I did, I wouldn’t get a routable v6 address yet.)

3.  Rumors on the Internets, and from Sarah, Ethan, are that Enferex is back in Tidewater on holiday.  (Do the Aussies use that as dingoer lingo?)  I hope I get a chance to catch up.

4.  Music tidying is tedious.  See the “digital cobwebs” entry a few weeks back.  I still haven’t gotten my library where I want it, but it’s closer.

5.  The new Facebook plugin setup/sync is less onerous than the one I’d tried before (or I’m just less stupid).  Comments work again.  That said, you can register, and comment via the native WordPress stuff.  I just have to approve them.

6.  Tecfidera is going.  Over the past week, I’ve had flashes of near-adequacy on my vision.  They’re still pretty short-lived, unfortunately.  On the bright side, I’ve seen things on my iPhone that I haven’t seen before.

7.  HRT never called me back.  Looks like they’re going to shut down the Dominion Tower bus stop next week.  This is a problem for me.  I’m not saying I don’t understand, though.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen more than two people get on there, four people on the bus at one time.

8.  I’m rambling.  I probably ought to quit writing now.  *yawn*

Reruns on Saturday Night

(Live), too.  Oh well.

For whatever reason, maybe it had something to do with the XMPP client I installed this week, but the automatic update for WordPress wouldn’t work.  Yet it worked fine on users.

Dunno.

Tomorrow I’ll kick the shit out of this thing I’m working on for work, then go eat Cajun food, drink Abita.

And I’m not working Friday, or any day next weekend.

I thought for a hot second about catching the train to DC to make sure I didn’t work next weekend, but don’t feel like spending the money on it.  Besides, Sarah’s cooking is getting good.  Maybe I can convince her to try something from the Julia Child books I got as gifts.

I know this guy

Somehow, someway….

Yesterday, I tweeted, “Go to Hong Kong?  Okay, if it’d mean good food, and a chance to put my fist through Snowden’s face.”

Some comments I got on Facebook made me think more about it, and the more I think and read about it, the more I want to punch the guy.

From what I can tell, what the government is doing is no different than the highway department putting traffic sensors on a roadway.  You know, the wires spreading across all lanes of traffic that seem to be connected to nothing.  They’re there to monitor the number of vehicles passing over that point in a given amount of time.

There’s also speed sensors that make the chromakey displays behind the perky traffic girl show congestion on a roadway.

What does she do when one goes from green to red?  She pulls up that roadway camera to see if she can see what’s up.

Now, imagine if one of the little pissants running the state’s traffic centers alerted everyone that they were being monitored because of these cameras……

Do I have some issues with the possible long-term retention of traffic?  Sure.  Separate issue.  I know that it’s tough for someone at this nincompoop’s intellectual level to understand.  (Or, for that matter, the average Hannity fan.  Don’t get me wrong, Sean is a genuinely nice guy.  I’ve met him more than once.  His big-time fans tend to be a little, shall we say, simpleminded.  Only NPR has the luxury of choosing its audience.)

But I digress;  back to the issue of monitoring.  The now knocked-up traffic girl only goes to a camera when she sees that there might be a problem.  Analysts brighter than Snowden do the same thing for Internet traffic.

As I told the folks on users, law enforcement generally notifies the provider whenever there’s an investigation going on.  Otherwise, that oh-so-cute fuzzy puppy pic your aunt sent you (because she won’t get on Facebook out of fears someone will steal her identity) just passes by unnoticed.  Just like your car would on the way to the liquor store if you took the Interstate.

Stopping my babbling now.  What are the takeaways?

1.  If you really want to keep something private, don’t put it into a computer, or say it over the telephone.

2.  Punching Snowden (and the people who think he’s a hero) is a-okay in my book.  Not so much for what he did, or may do, but simply because he’s inciting panic unnecessarily.

Digital Cobwebs

A big part of what I’ve been trying to do, professionally, is get people to think about what they actually need their systems to do.  We’ll deal with the years’ worth of cruft that’s there after we get a good working setup.

I’m also having to do that with my creaking shit at home.  This weekend’s task?  iTunes.  My libraries are a disaster. Between things I ripped back when I was trying to be a Free Software zealot, various things that I picked up when I was working on others’ computers, etc., my iTunes library is a hot mess.

“I think I’ve finally made mine Bieber-free.”

That’s nice to know, hon.

Bitch point?  ID3 tags go by genre.  If CDDB changes an artist’s genre, you could easily end up with two copies of the same song, from the same album, in your library.  I’m hitting a lot of dupes with Rock/Pop/Alternative, and Rap/Pop/R&B.

This ain’t pop — because that sucks — And you can New Jack Swing on my…

And he makes kids’ movies now, and has been married to the same woman over twenty years.  Hardcore, O’Shea.

Different from work with this is that I really don’t care about being vendor-independent anymore.  I’ve cast bet on Apple.  Oh well.  I hope I don’t come to regret it ten years from now.

(At the same time, I think It’ll be even less of a concern for me ten years from now than it is now…..)

On Tecfidera and Technology

Tecfidera:

It is what it is.  I’m becoming accustomed to it.  I don’t miss Rebif at all.  I’m hoping this latest exacerbation is calming down, though.  My vision has been affected more, lately, and it’s making everything in life difficult.

Side effects?  Digestive, primarily.  Some of the flushing in my face and upper torso. Headaches.  Is it as unpleasant as Rebif?  Uh, no.  Not even close.

(I also reflexively want to add an “h” to Tecfidera when I type it…..

Technology:

I cease to be amazed at how much cruft is around.  Everywhere.  But especially in IT.  Why does some of this cruft persist?  Two reasons.

1.  People are used to it, and demand that it continue in perpetuity, and;

2.  Nobody knows exactly what it is that the technology does.

Digging to the bottom of number two fixes the utility question.  Whether or not there’s a fix for the ubiquity question, I don’t know.  There’ve been baby steps in the right direcion, but the young people responsible for those baby steps have been pushed aside.  The grayhairs waint things to stay exactly as they were, and they’re the ones making the decisions.  So just replacing the functionality isn’t enough to make the argument for change…..

((exasperated sigh))

Drupal Catastrophe

The stuff I wrote while I was trying Drupal follows.  I still get people trying to get to the direct links, which don’t work anymore.  Enjoy or whatever;  my blog sucks.

—–

22 Feb. 2013

Something

Well, the job search is over.  Yesterday, I received, and accepted, a new job.  Still lots of paperwork to do, but it’s nice to be out of the “job-seeker” category.

Mastars of the Universe

Submitted by sean on Sat, 02/16/2013 – 14:57

This presentation was the first one that spurred me to write something longer than a derisive tweet. I really wanted to like this, because I’d done some strategizing about how to effectively do this in my last job. (That the speaker works for the same organization as my little brother also perked me up a bit. Not enough to stop noticing the every other sentence terminated with, “right?,” or “alright,” but I tried to keep an open mind, at least).

My major takeaways from this speech:
1. You’re sekurity mastars. You need your own shit.
I can understand why people feel this way, but it’s less and less practical these days. There was some back-and-forth aobout how to keep the operators of these systems from being treated like run-of-the-mill DBAs. Guess what! The guys actually running those systems, unless they’re doing analysis work, are run-of-the-mill sysadmins. Tony Stewart, even if he’s capable of doing it safely, has to obey the 70 MPH speed limit on I-95. Similarly, you sekurity mastars can’t just do and use whatever the hell you want. You can’t.
And there’s regs that say you can’t. Whether you think those regs are wise is a different story, altogether. You have to obey them. Fucking deal.
2. We don’t do metrics.
Lots of discussion about cross-training team members, team size, etc. But no way of evaluating team effectiveness or performance. I admit that my view on IA weenies setting these sorts of things is flavored by my own recent experiences, but….. Define your measures before you begin, and don’t change them. Actually take data.

—–

Shmoocon Reax

Submitted by sean on Mon, 02/18/2013 – 12:30

Comments:

Eric Gearhart (not verified)

Tue, 02/19/2013 – 07:58

Thanks for the quick Shmoocon recap… I’ve been to HOPE and DEFCON but I’ve never scored a ticket to Shmoo. Your post gives me some ideas on getting up there if I do score a ticket… taking the Amtrak from Norfolk into DC and walking from Union Station over to the con hotel would be awesome.

sean Tue, 02/19/2013 – 20:24

My wife walked over a couple of times to catch the Metro while I was conning. A healthier person than I wouldn’t have an issue walking it. Hell, I had trouble going three blocks to get dinner Friday night. :-p

But I did enjoy it this year; first one in a long time where I haven’t come home saying, “Fuck it. I’m skipping next year.” I guess the orgs. weren’t happy, though I didn’t care enough to find out why. Needed moar thermite drive destruction, I suppose.

—–

Amped

Submitted by sean on Thu, 02/14/2013 – 10:51
Getting psyched about Shmoocon starting tomorrow. Think I have my presentation schedule laid out, although it seems like I’ll be spending way too much time in the “Bring It On” room. That includes Michael Schearer‘s presentation Sunday. (As an aside, hat top to him for alerting me to the location change; would have sucked royally having to cab in to the Hyatt from Dupont. I really don’t know if, physically, I can handle walking+metro that far. If the Metro stop was right outside the Washington Hilton, it’d be a different story. But the stop is a bit of a walk. The walk from Union Station to the Hyatt looks like two blocks, which I should be able to handle.)

I will be circulating resumes while I’m there since I haven’t landed anything yet. (Geek note: I created a QR code to get to my resume posted here. I am a nerd.) Although moving will suck, I think it’s probably something we’re going to have to do. So, DC, or somewhere farther north, I suppose. Why? The ability to get around. I can’t drive anymore. Just can’t. Yes, I could make my arms and legs work well enough to move a car, but I don’t see well enough to feel safe doing it. What’s that mean, public transportation. Bus/rail in the city, Amtrak or air between cities. *yawn*

Time to pack, and go to my meeting this afternoon.

On Permanence and Perfection

The more I think about it, the more illusory both seem.

Kind of in a pensive mood again after reading several Pilot stories, various tweets, seeing things on TV last couple of weeks…..

Both political parties ultimately seek to conserve different unsustainable priorities.

—-

**EDIT 1**

Yes, I do this sort of thing in my diary, too.  One of my acquaintances, being outraged, posted a story about the BorC execs being convicted during the plot that caused the bank to fail.

As I said on Facebook, the real story won’t come out for awhile, because it doesn’t reinforce the city’s ruling party’s lines.  Yes, the bank execs are criminals.  Yes, so were a lot of others like them.  Yes, there were local, state, and Federal politicians and bureaucrats who made it all possible.

But prosecuting the last group, even directing blame their way, doesn’t jibe with the ruling party’s line.

If it makes me a bad person to say that, I’m okay with that.

As I’ve aged, I’ve come to find some of my preconceived notions weren’t wise.  If that makes me to be “not a team player,” oh well.

More Lesions, Less Leisure

Maybe.

I got my MRI results back this afternoon.  One new active lesion, but barely any progression in the existing ones.  Some brain volume decrease, but that’s expected.

Brain stem looks normal, as does blood flow in the brain.

Still sort of tracking for the Tecfidera, but Tysabri is still an option.  I will let EVMS and Dr. Rice argue it out.  Kind that whole practicing medicine thing.

I have gotten worse since I went off the Copaxone (and on to the Rebif).

Not enjoying being in an office, again, every day.  But it is what it is.

Anybody wanna buy a Mustang?

Don’t think of a purple 800 lb. gorilla

Mixing colloquialisms?  Yes.  Reading this.  Republicans refuse to do math, and have managed to keep tax rates artifically low for more than 20 years now.  The power behind the Virginia Democrats get upset that money gets spent south of Quantico.

Go read Blue Virginia, and see the staunch opposition to the 460 project.

What was the first thing Jim Gilmore canned after revenues started drying up?  Adding another lane to I-64 from Bad Newz to 295.

Mark Warner spent nearly all of the Federal money in NoVA.  Timmay kept it up.