It works! Solid state iPod on the way!

(click to embiggen)

Above is my 4G 20GB iPod, opened up. On the left is the 20GB hard drive it came with, which has been removed. As you can see, I have replaced it with a 4GB CF card at the moment, to test the adapter which I received today.

It works! I was able to sync about 3.5GB of music onto it, and play it back, and not only does it work, but those delays caused by spinning up the hard drive when skipping songs are gone.

Now I can safely order the 32GB CF card from NewEgg, and I'll soon have an upgraded capacity, completely solid state iPod!

The iPod feels a lot lighter, too. This will make do nicely until they someday release a 32GB or 64GB Nano.

*geeky cackles of glee*

Microsoft, you never cease to amaze...

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac is a native (Intel) application.

Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac is a PowerPC only application, which must run under CPU emulation (Rosetta) to work on Intel Macs.

Yet Office 2004 is *STILL* faster than 2008, even with the emulation overhead.

How is it that MS continues to write such garbage software, yet they are never called on it? People just keep buying it, regardless of how crappy it is.

I think I'll stick with iWork on my personal Macs and not even touch that bloated pile of crap. Unfortunately users want it at work so I have to install it for them...


Canon is clever!

I was fiddling with work's Canon Rebel XTi camera, and noticed that when I hold it up to my face, the display showing current settings blanks automatically. At first I thought it was an automatic timeout, then I pulled the camera away from my face and the display turned on again! Once again, held it up to my face, display turned off.

Whoah! I found there's a little sensor that detects the presence of your face, and turns off the display when you hold it up to your face to take a photo. The sensor is just over the display and is probably capacitative, like the trackpad on most modern laptops.

I love well-thought-out interface design like this. It solves what would otherwise be a problem (glaring display just under your eyes when shooting) in a completely non-intrusive manner.

I even posted a video of this, because it's so neat.

Another person I know bet on RAID, and lost.

I just want to remind everyone out there who runs any sort of server or has important data that RAID is *NEVER* a substitute for proper backups.

RAID is only meant to improve reliability and uptime. In other words, a hard drive can fail and be replaced without bringing the system down. It will NOT protect against things like:

- Double disk failures (it happens! More often than you think.)
- Power surges frying the system
- User error (rm -rf * .tmp Aaww D'OH!!)
- and much more.

If you don't have a proper offline backup that is completely SEPARATE from your server, RAID or not, your data's days are numbered. It isn't a question of "if", but rather, "when".


The time to do this, if you haven't, is yesterday. I'm serious.

Anyway, end rant. I just needed to remind everyone because I saw it happen yet again.

When your servers start *talking to you*, it's time for a vacation!

My boss and I walked into one of our server rooms to look at a modem that was not working. This room also contains some machines used and maintained by the database group; we try not to touch their machines and let them take care of them.

As we walk in we hear a faint muffled sound, as if someone were speaking. It sounded vaguely like a telephone intercept message, so we figured maybe someone connected a telephone in the room and it was off hook.

As we tracked down the source of the problem, we found it. It was a newish machine which was sitting nestled among a bunch of older machines on the database group's rack.

I pressed my ear to it, and it was saying, repeatedly:

"Your keyboard and mouse may have a problem."

Nevermind that there was no keyboard and mouse even attached to the system; it was being used as a server. I went to talk to one of the database group managers and showed her the machine. She was as boggled as I was, and talked to her tech staff to come shut it up.

So yep, computers have talking BIOSes now. And they sound just like Jane Barbe.

Lynxie's battle scars!

A few days ago while petting my cat Lynxie I found a small lump under his skin. I've heard such lumps can be serious, so I took him to the vet. He had the lump removed today, and it is being sent to a lab to analyze it to determine if it is malignant in a way that could threaten his health.

He is doing quite well after all this. The kitty already drank a ton of water and some food, and is becoming more coordinated by the minute. :)

Lynxie has to take antibiotics twice a day for a week; the first dose is tonight. Hopefully he won't mind being dosed. Knowing felines, though, he probably will mind, quite a bit.

Here's the damage:

Those are mean looking stitches, but they will eventually dissolve and fall out.

I'm a bit more relaxed now; anything that involved putting my cat under is going to make me nervous. I'm sure by tomorrow he'll be running and jumping and being his lovable brat self once again. :)

UPDATE 4/24/2008:

Stitches fell out only a few days after the above photos were taken, and now his scar is almost completely gone:

The biopsy came out benign as well. Isn't nature amazing?

There's a bit of a difference...

We just upgraded our mail server at work from a dual processor Xeon (netburst, aka crap) 2.4GHz with 4GB of RAM to an eight-core Xeon (Core architecture, so about twice as much per core, per clock) 2.4GHz with 16GB of RAM.

It's a bit* faster now.


New Firefox profile

Except for my bookmarks, I've created a fresh new Firefox profile. This is the first time I do this in years, having carried the same profile from Windows to Linux to MacPPC to MacIntel and so on.

Already the browser feels faster and a couple niggling issues I have been having are gone.

So if Firefox is giving you weird woes, it might be time for a fresh profile. Not to mention, clearing out all your cookies is good for privacy; all those websites that have been tracking you will suddenly no longer know it's you. ;)

Quiz memes are asking for a bit much...

I took one of those online quiz memes; I'm used to them asking for my E-mail address (upon which I give them a throwaway one) but the latest one actually asked for my *street address!*

Is anyone really stupid enough to put their real information in there? Heck, the bottom of the page says that you agree to let them share the information with third parties, which means you're likely to get inundated with spam and junk snailmail.

I put in a fake address, and it said to please enter my real address, as if it somehow knew. So I submitted the form again with the same fake address and that time it went through. I suspect they may be trying trick people into entering their real address the second time to get their meme result.

It reminds me of this, actually. :)

Of course I'm not posting a link to the meme since they're obviously a shady company and I don't want to promote them, but the animal I'm most like is the jaguar. At least they got the feline part right!

Nearly plowed...

I was nearly plowed in the side by a huge SUV that decided to lane change across four lanes of traffic without looking. I sounded my horn as the vehicle came too close and had to slam on the gas and swerve to the right in order to get out of its way. The driver saw me and jerked back into his/her lane (I didn't identify their gender), nearly losing control of the SUV in the process. I don't recall the model but I think it was an Escalade.

At times like this I'm glad my driving instructor obsessively pushed into my head "be aware of your surroundings at all times". If I were one of those drivers that only looks forward and never around, I'd still be sitting on SW 107th, my Honda badly smashed and possibly injured.

Drive safe, folks. Idiots are out there, and they outnumber us.

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