Category Archives: Rants

It has GOT to be Illegal

Credit CardsOk, I’m all for making a living as the next guy, but for the last few MONTHS, my wife and I have been getting messages on my answering machine saying (Paraphrasing):

Hi, We’re from your credit Card company, We’re calling about Your Credit Card Bill! Please hit 1 for an Operator!

Can we say “possible FRAUD, Boys and Girls?

They’ve called us during Dinner a few times too. I’ve asked repeatedly for our number to be taken Off the F____ing list and they say “OK” and hang up.

Today, On Martin Luthur King Day, They called YET again! Wits END

Ok, I calm down , Steel myself, and Hit “1”.

Operator: “Hi, are you interested in Reducing Your Credit Card Bills?”

Me (Smiley Voice): “Sort Of, I always looking out to save money in this time of Economic Gloom, but which one of My Credit Card Company do you Represent??”

Operator: “Well, We’re from Your VISA Card!”

Me: “Really? Which ONE Exactly? Would that be My Wa Mu Card?”
(NOTE: I don’t have a WaMu Card)

Operator: “Why, Yes, That’s the one. We represent ALL your Visa Cards!”

After going back and forth a few times, he would NOT identify the company.

Me (Slightly Annoyed Voice): “That’s Interesting, but What I REALLY want to know is, Why am I being called when I asked for my number to be removed three times already?? The Automated machine talking to my Answering machine is really annoying…”

Operator: “(sigh), Sir, all you need do is hit the ‘2’ Button…”

Me: “Really?, The Recording did not say that. It only said to hit ‘1’ to speak to someone.”

Operator: “Yes sir, It did. If you listened for another 20 seconds, you’d hear it”

Me: “Um, Noooo, I don’t think so, But What-Ever. Will You remove my number NOW???”

Operator: “Just hit the ‘2’ Button.”

Me: “What? Now? I don’t want to buzz it in your ear or anything…”

Operator: “Yes Sir, Now…”

Me: “(Stabbing The ‘2’ Button) Ok, Am I off the List?”

Operator: “Yes Sir.”

Me: “That’s great, have a nice day.”

Operator: “You too.(click)”

I swear, If I get one more call on our answering machine, I’m making an MP3 File and posting it online. I have nothing against the Operator. He’s just trying to make a living but this is ridiculous.

I’m on the “Do NOT Call List”! I have the sneaking suspicion that one of our credit cards is up to this. If I find out which one, I’m canceling my card…

Music I’m listening to right Now:
Suspicious Minds” by Fine Young Cannibals from the “Fine Young Cannibals” Album.

Myspace and Hotlinking

MyspaceAs I’ve written about before, some of my images get hotlinked from and other sites. Mostly from Kids that think I took a cool photo, but it is annoying. Going thru my log to find the offenders is simple enough (Need for future reference):

$ egrep -i “jpg” /var/log/httpd/access_lo* |
egrep -v “//||| “-“” |
awk ‘{print $11}’ | cut -d”/” -f3 |sort | uniq | less

Which gives me a list of hosts hotlinking my images. It’s flattering that people find my photos interesting, but it’s still annoying. To make life more fun, I’m being hotlinked from some really Odd Message Forums too. I’ve taken some interesting and amusing steps to deal with it, so we’ll see how long it continues.

Music I’m listening to right Now:

Hate Me by Blue October from the “Foiled” Album.

Again, Way too F______ Busy Lately…

Originally uploaded by S.D..

As many people
can testify, I don't have many rules in my life but one I really try to live by is:

"Work to live, Don't live to work"

For a variety of reasons, I've worked the 3 of the past 4 weekends, Worked to 11pm at night for 3 days of the past work week (Yes, 9:00am to 11:00pm) and all because other people could not line up their crap in a row. It's a holiday weekend and I've worked Saturday and Sunday. Actually, I'm cool with that last one as it was planned months in advance. 

Needless to say, I'm in serious violation of the above rule. I try to help people whenever I can, but frankly, I'm approaching the point where I resist the urge to simply say "Really?? No kidding, It's broken??"

I'm not taking care of my own projects, I need a couple of days off to get some personal business done and my managers, by no fault of their own, are sucked into projects at the 11th hour. I can't tell you how often I've heard "My Project has TOP Priority!!!!" from people that are not my managers. I explain to them that they need to have a chat with my managers, but it never happens.

Where I work, I'm on of a team of jack-of-all-trades in Networking that gets pulled into everything network related. We literally get pulled into projects that are global in scope ranging from Web browsing, DNS, Email, custom application development, Info Security, Network topology, execution and operational planning. The entire team is top notch in our field. It's fun and challenging work, but this is getting really old. 

I try not to get stressed, and I go for impromptu photo walks with friends, like the one the above photo is from.  It's fun, relaxing and I'm occasionally lucky enough to come across scenes like the one above.

Update: Actually, giving it more thought, I've been working like this most of the Summer! As I've not used it, time to take some vacation. Wonder if the Mrs. wants to go on a drive to Canada?

Music I'm listening to right Now:

Bang On! by Propellerheads from the "Decksandrumsandrockandroll" Album. 


A Really Rotten Situation…

JPG LogoAn Odd title, but the best way to describe it, IMO.

Fairly recently Derek Powazek and Heather Powazek Champ association with JPG Magazine came to an end (read response here, here , and here).

I'm not going into details about what happened because, among other things, I wasn't there. If I had to take a Really Wild Assed Guess: People made assumptions and/or were really unhappy with one thing or another.

I do think that Paul Cloutier (the CEO, publisher and now editor) really screwed up how he handled the aftermath. When the founder of a company is no longer with said company, at the
least, some announcement needs to be put out. Other than pulling ALL
reference of Derek and maintaining that this is a "New" JPG Magazine (I disagree, I thought it was a growing endeavor),
there was no information other than what Derek and Heather put out. Some of the staff of JPG have expressed their consternation at Derek and Heather going public with what they consider an internal problem. I think that's wrong as JPG Magazine is a community based business. IMO, that means the community are like shareholders that need to know what's going on. 

initial lack of any damage control was a big mistake. To make life more entertaining, when he finally did say something, it was, IMO, lacking to say the least.

As of this writing, I don't think I have answers to questions I posed:

  • Did Paul force Derek out? If so, Why??
  • Did Paul invent a new story about how JPG came to be that was all about 8020?
  • Did Paul tell people not to speak of that walk in Buena Vista, Heather, or anything that came before 8020?

I'm not the only one that wants to know. Part of the appeal of JPG Magazine was this it is a startup by two interesting people. I was pleased to see it grow and evolve into a mature company with a great submission system and a great staff of people working there. Knowing that the creator of such an endeavor was forced out without any explanation put forth by Paul leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That's why I deleted my JPG account.

As I said on a flickr discussion, Regardless of whatever happened that led to Derek's departure, JPG was originally Derek's and Heather's creation. I may be naive, but I'm still really hoping for a resolution that include Paul and Derek working it out.

I'm not marginalizing the Staff. As a programmer, I can say the site is a great work, as an amateur photographer, I certainly appreciate the behind the scenes work of all the staff.

I just think they (Paul and Derek both) need to work it out where Derek can have a role in JPG Magazine especially since Derek owns a part of it.

Update: I will say this: I'm very close to re-creating my JPG Magazine account. Rather than deleting them, I've struck out the questions above (IMO, It's part of the record and I think it would be wrong to just delete them). I don't have them directly answered, but I feel they are no longer relevant to the issue. 

Music I'm listening to right Now:
"New Thing" by Fuel from "Sunburn"

Bad timing…

Proliant Naturally, after I painlessly finish an upgrade of Movable Type, I wake up this morning to my server making a horrible noise from it's power supply. I could replace it, but the power supply probably cost more than I paid for the server in the first place. I'm thinking of using an old PC, but frankly, I like that the disk is a RAID array and the PC isn't equipped for RAID.

With any luck I'll price out the power supply to something acceptable or, open the Power supply and replace the Fan. As it has high voltage capacitors in it, I'm not looking forward to that option. With any luck, I'll find an old Proliant 5000 chassis on Ebay. Another idea I'm bouncing around is to make a Drive array from the PC, put in a copper Gigabit card into the PC and server for a Home made NAS device.

This might actually be an oportunity as I've been meaning to move it out of my office and into my basement. In the mean time, I'm backing up everything to GZiped TAR files and using SCP to get it onto my PC.

As a reference to myself, the TAR command in question is:
$ tar -gzip -v -c -f webserver.tgz ./*

I seem to forget that every time I need it. After I post this, I'll backup the DB again.


Music I'm listening to right Now:
"Into The Ocean" by Blue October from the "Foiled" Album.


Ok, Verizon just Sucks.

PhoneIt rained Friday night which means my phone service went down yet again. This has only been going on since September 14th.

Ok,  I tried to be patient, but I go thru the usual song and dance and apparently complete waste of time by calling Verizon Phone Repair, ask to speak to a manager and get promptly hung up on. I Have a complaint in to Verizon about that AND a complaint is being opened up to their Business office Monday. My Last bill has a “Credit” of less than $3. I can’t wait to call the City and file a complaint in writing.

Maybe it’s me. maybe I just get lucky enough to deal with people with absolutely no idea how to fix a phone line. After all, It’s TWO WIRES connected to my house, down a telephone pole, to a Central office back to a Verizon Hub (Or what ever it’s called). Obviously, This is New Cutting Edge Technology (The Phone was JUST invented, Right?) and it takes a certain amount of patience to actually trackdown and inspect the few hundred feet of TWO WIRES to actually find the problem.

The Best Part? Everyone who comes out to look at it traces it a few blocks, Observes that it goes into the ground and then has to open a trouble ticket to yet another group just to look at it. That other group takes a peek several days later and says “Looks OK to me!” and apparently does nothing. By the time they look at it at least four days have passed, the rain water that caused the problem has evaporated and the phone line starts to work albiet with lots of Static.

This situation is just beyond words. I’m betting I’ll be back here writing about how much Verizon Sucks in January.

Music I’m listening to right Now:
Camisado” by Panic! at the Disco from “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out“.

Verizon Phone Line problems Continue

It rained last night so My Phone Line went Down again.

I’m really trying to be patient about this as it is obviously a difficult problem to Diagnose, but this is getting seriously ridiculous. I work from home at least one day a week and need my phone to work properly else it costs me money.

The people who come to work on the problem (On Sunday no less!) are friendly and Polite and they do know what they are doing but  I think I lucked out with a really unusual  and intermittent problem. I’m betting they replace the entire phone line cable…

10/20/2006 UPDATE: They replaced the line from my Telephone pole to the Central Office. Last night, it rained and I still have phone service. Life is good…

Music I’m listening to right Now:
Nothing at the moment.

Verizon Phone Service – Strike 3

 It rained last night. What powers of observation did I apply to figure that out? Simple, for the 3rd time since September 16th , my home phone is dead since It goes out every time it rains. I first called for service at about 8:40am, at 7:15pm, it's still dead. I'm told that they are working on it.

To make life perfect, the DSL line is spotty AND I'm attempting to  work from home today…  

Cable Modem is looking better and better…

Music I'm listening to right Now:
"Here It Goes Again " by OK go from the "Oh No " Album.


Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment for October 5th, 2006

Keith Olbermann’s comments on the President is quite telling and quite interesting as I think it’s spot on. He’s close to 10 minutes long with this one, but it is well worth listening too. This gets cut off a little at the end, but you could see all of it here. The President constantly lies about anyone that opposes him. The incidents that Keith Olbermann bring up are perfect examples of the “Power at any cost” attitude that the Republicans have.Music I’m listening to right Now:
Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley from the “St. Elsewhere” Album.

Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity

CashAccording to the NY Times, Real Wages fail to match a rise in Productivity. The Article also notes: At the same time, corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960’s.

What a A big Shock. Don’t know about other industries, but Information Technology has been like that for at least 4 years. This isn’t so much a Corporate Issue as much as people want the best but are unwilling to pay for it.

To make life more amusing, Corporations look at their I.T. staff as if we are merely a “Cost Center” and nothing more. That attitude always amuses me as, Yes, the Business partner generates direct revenue, but can they do it without the services provided by I.T.? I think not.

Music I’m listening to right Now:
Chasing Cars” by “Snow Patrol” from the “Eyes Open” Album.