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Raging Technoholic http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com Kevin Workman's rants and ravings Thu, 06 May 2010 20:24:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 1960's Pool Party Weekend May 21-22 http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/2010/05/1960s-pool-party-weekend-may-21-22/ Thu, 06 May 2010 20:22:03 +0000 http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/?p=452 Summer is coming to San Diego, and nothing says summer like spending a weekend with old friends and new, sitting by the pool, enjoying a cocktail, and listening to the swank tunes of the 1960's!

A group of us here in San Diego that is known for putting on large Comic-Con, Halloween events, and the odd Zombie Bus, and Elvis night, decided to do something different and rather than battling the undead, or dressing up as the King we decided to do something a little different.

Our Mad Men weekend at the Pearl Hotel in San Diego is a two night event that promises to be a blast!

The Pearl Hotel is a fantastic newly remodeled 1960's hotel that epitomizes the look and feel of the 1960's, with 23 rooms, a heated salt water pool, and a fantastic bar, it's the ideal location for what we have in mind!

We have blocked out all of the rooms at the hotel, and are looking for a few good folks to join us, if this sounds like something that you want to do, just follow these few easy steps.

1: Contact The Pearl and tell them you're interested in getting a room for the May 21st-22nd Event


Pearl Hotel

www.thepearlsd.com

1410 Rosecrans Street
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 226-6100

2: Let us know you're coming, drop me a line at kevin@x-sanguin.com!

3: Profit! 🙂

If you have any question, ideas, etc feel free to drop me a line!

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Need the help of a PHP/WordPress/Joomla expert! http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/2010/04/need-the-help-of-a-phpwordpressjoomla-expert/ Fri, 23 Apr 2010 18:11:42 +0000 http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/?p=444 So a few days ago I noticed that sites that are hosted off my dedicated host at Godaddy started throwing errors, on both WordPress and Joomla, but they seem to be PHP related, and I have NO idea what the hell has changed that could cause this problem accross two different CMS's.

It's intermittent, could happen on every page load, or one out of every ten.

On Joomla you get a blank page with :

Fatal error: Call to undefined function call_user_func_array() in /var/www/vhosts/newlongdistance.com/httpdocs/libraries/joomla/event/event.php on line 67

Line 67 in event.php reads: if (method_exists($this, $event)) {

On WordPress you get a blank page with:
Fatal error: Call to undefined function call_user_func_array() in /var/www/vhosts/beta.x-sanguin.com/httpdocs/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 166

Line 67 in event.php reads:  $value = call_user_func_array($the_['function'], array_slice($args, 1, (int) $the_['accepted_args']));

Ideas?  HELP!

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Zombies of Mass Destruction! http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/2010/04/zombies-of-mass-destruction/ Sat, 17 Apr 2010 19:42:53 +0000 http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/?p=440 Want to go see Zombies of Mass Destruction for free TONIGHT?

Courtesy of the Gay / Lesbian Film festival I have a bunch of tickets to hand out to folks that want to go see the 10:00pm showing of this movie, all you have to do is show up and ask me for them!

HOW: I'll be at Ono Sushi tonight from about 7:00 till about 9:15 hanging out, getting my snack and drink on, and giving out tickets to the event.

WHERE: You can find information on Ono Sushi HERE

WHEN: You can get tickets from me from about 7:00 - 9:15, I'll be sitting at the bar, and probably be the only person wearing a Zombie Defense Network military jacket drinking a Jack Daniels.  I'll leave for the theater at about 9:15.

Hope to see you there, and you can message me on twitter @kworkman if you have any questions etc.

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How large IT support departments are like a M.A.S.H. unit http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/2010/04/how-large-it-support-departments-are-like-a-m-a-s-h-unit/ Thu, 08 Apr 2010 20:45:50 +0000 http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/?p=435 I somehow doubt that large IT shops are usually compared to the T.V. series M.A.S.H., but the more I thought about it, the more it really made sense.

This whole thing started with me talking to one of the folks at my company in engineering who was asking me about what they considered lack luster effort on the part of IT in diagnosing a problem with their machine.

Disgruntled Engineer
“So I called IT the other day and complained about issues with my machine being slow, random Office errors popping up, and this weird thing where IE would freeze from time to time, and you know what they wanted to do? They wanted to wipe my machine and re-install Windows!

Why don’t you guys spend more time finding the root problem, and spend less time re-installing machines that impact engineering productivity?”

Me
“Well to be honest, when we get trouble tickets we triage them according to severity, and our ability to fix them with limited resources, and sometimes the best option is to wipe your machine and start over”

Disgruntled Engineer
“So your saying because my machine didn’t have an “easy” or “moderate” problem to solve your answer is to just re-install?”

Me
“Uhhhh yeah, that’s how it goes sometimes”

So for those that are too young to remember M.A.S.H., it was a T.V. show that ran in the 70’s and 80’s detailing the exploits of a mobile army surgical hospital.

M.A.S.H units would be moved from time to time to be closer to the front lines, and they served as the first stop that wounded would be brought to, think a trauma ER room made out of tents. There the wounded would be assessed, quickly patched up, and then sent off to a more robust medical facility.

Incoming wounded would be flown in on helicopters and dropped off and then immediately triaged by the medical staff into by which get priority based on their condition. Unfortunately one of these categorizations was “Not going to make it”.

Due to limited medical staff and the critical need of other patients, hard decisions had to be made right away about who could be saved, and who was probably beyond saving, and that holds true in large IT departments today as well.

If we think of machine problems as “wounded”, on an average day we receive 850 “wounded”. These range from someone has a stubbed toe (password reset) up a patient who is flatline (dead CPU).

We also have similar constraints as the medical personal in M.A.S.H., limited personnel, resources, and equipment, and keeping those in mind we have to make hard decisions about where we spend those resources.

So if an employee brings in their machine with really odd problems, or intermittent issues we often times don’t have the luxury of spending 8 hours on a single machine, trying to determine the root cause of the problem, but we have to recommend that we have to re-image.

No IT person likes to punt and just re-image, but we are constantly reminded by the sound of those choppers that we have wounded coming in on average every two minutes, day in and day out, and sometimes the best you can do is admit that you don’t have the time and resources to determine the real issue.

That’s not to say we would ignore a systemic bizarre problem that seems to be widespread across the enterprise, it just means that we often can’t spend the time we would like to on each and every issue that we see.

Machines much like the human body are prone to problems and as they age can exhibit all types of interesting issues that can be difficult and time consuming to diagnose, and unlike the folks in the #4077 M.A.S.H. unit, we have the option starting over when need be.

Hopefully that helps educate folks that what some could perceive as lackluster effort is really us just trying to triage patients as fast as we can with the resources that we have been given.

On that note, I hear incoming helicopters, I have to run...

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Google changes it's name to Topeka http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/2010/04/google-changes-its-name-to-topeka/ Thu, 01 Apr 2010 07:22:24 +0000 http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/?p=431 Bhahahahah, Google's logo has been changed to spell "Topeka" and there is a whole write up on their April first prank to rename the company.   Genius..
Here is their blog post. 🙂 http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/different-kind-of-company-name.html

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B-17 Log book from 1943-1944 Amazing Read http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/2010/02/b-17-log-book-from-1943-1944-amazing-read/ Fri, 26 Feb 2010 01:53:37 +0000 http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/?p=429 Whoa, amazing log book from a B-17 crew from 1943-1944.  It was a different time, really really facinating to read, be sure to read the last page.

B17FltLog

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I hope I will not be Part of a Lost Generation http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/2010/02/i-hope-i-will-not-be-part-of-a-lost-generation/ Fri, 19 Feb 2010 02:12:09 +0000 http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/?p=423 From 2007

I think I will be part of a lost generation…

Not lost in the classic sense, but lost in the sense that my children and my grandchildren may not be able to look back on the history of our family during this time, because as a generation, we are in a transitional state of technology where our ability to manage and store data has not kept up with out ability to produce it.

I remember while growing up that I would often look thought my parents' storage trunks and find old photos of them during their teenage years, or from when they were my age now. It was fun at the time to see what they looked like and the clothes that they wore, Image_1but it also gave me a sense of history and helped me see my parents and family as people rather than just "Mom and Dad".

The photos that I, and I am sure others have found, are old and dirty, some of them are torn and have water stains and other random damage to them over the years, but for the most part it’s just like looking through a dirty window on history: it might not be perfect, but you don't necessarily need it to be perfect. These photos become a visual record of both history and the people and events surrounding a person and family life.

However, my generation is a special one. My generation is one that started out with old-school film cameras and then found the wonder and flexibility of digital imaging. Digital cameras help scratch that itch of instant gratification but also give us the flexibility of sending out copies to friends and family with incredible ease and at virtually no cost.

My fear however is that as digital becomes the prevalent type of camera used in homes around the world, that users of these cameras now have a new responsibility to maintain the images in their computer systems using technology and tools that they probably barley understand. Photos from film that are printed on paper can be placed in a box and left in a person's attic for years, only to be found later by some adventurous child or family member, but digital pictures have to live in a more controlled environment than an old box.

BarryAs digital imaging and storage technology progresses, people will be not only faced with how to manage and store their digital images on a day-to-day basis, but they will also have to consider how to create backups of them that are resilient to failure. Users will have to understand that the CD or DVD that they backup on today may become unusable in the future due to damage, or the media may be intact but the technology that reads it will no longer be available.

Users who store their images on their desktop computers will be faced with an ever-growing problem of digital information management. As time goes on, the probability for a catastrophic failure in their machine, or backups, greatly increases. Users will have to adopt a multifaceted backup strategy that will give them several things to fall back on in the event of a failure. That's a lot to ask of some people who have trouble not clicking on an unknown person’s e-mail attachment.

So we see now that at any point during the lifetime of a person, if they should become lax, they could run the risk of losing their entire history of digital information.

Some would argue that there are companies that will store your information for you for a fee, they will ensure that it's managed, backed up, and secured for a monthly cost. However, as we have seen with the dot.com boom (and subsequent bust) of the late 1990s, long-term outlook for private and public corporations is questionable at best. People may also face a time in their lives when they become financially unable to pay the monthly fee, only to see decades of digital information become lost due to their inability to pay.

Not all of the information that users have on their machines would fall into a category where they would want to keep it over long periods of time, in fact I believe that most people’s personal data needs fall into one of a few categories:

Type 1 Data – Transitory Class Information

Data that a person uses on a day to day basis, but that loses its value over time rapidly. This would be classified as casual e-mail on a user’s machine, a birthday card they are creating for a loved one, or a letter to a possible employer. Desired retention for this information is usually measured in weeks.

Type 2 Data – Persistent Class Information

Data that users access that is important enough that its loss would represent significant loss of time, expense, or emotional distress. This would include information such as digital music files, digital movies, address book, and long-term projects. Information in this category would usually have a lifespan of a few years, as digital standards for music and video will change over time, and data such as contact information is constantly in flux.

Type 3 Data – Heirloom Class Information

This final class of information represents information that would be of interest over very long periods of time. Digital images that are important to future generations such as family portraits, holidays, vacations, the birth of a child, etc. Digital information such as a person’s will, diaries, and medical history. Heirloom class information would be of interest for possibly 100 years or more.

As time marches on and future generations have access to more advanced computing technology, there will probably be solutions for future individuals to keep many copies of their data in some type of computing data collective.

However, for this generation, which has the ability to generate tens of thousands of images within just a few years, I fear we may become a lost generation without a visual historic record unless something is done.

The solution that I have kicking around in my head is patterned from the company Alcor. Alcor does cryogenic preservation of human bodies. The idea being that medical science might not be able to save a person today, but years from now the technology will be available to cure them of whatever they were suffering from. Even the technology to reconstitute cells damaged by the freezing process has yet to be invented.

However, one (of the many) risks in this sort of thing would be that Alcor as a viable business entity fails to sell their product and turn a profit and becomes financially insolvent sometime down the road, say ten, 20, or 50 years from now. That would be really unfortunate for everyone who was banking on the technology being available in the future to solve their problem when the company that keeps them on ice has to let them thaw out due to cash-flow issues.

Image_6So what Alcor did was to allocate part of the money that you pay them to put yourself on ice toward the creation of an irrevocable legal trust. In the event that Alcor as a corporate entity should fail in their business, this legal trust would take over and has enough money invested in low risk, long-term investments to keep their facility maintained in perpetuity (at least in theory.)

This same approach needs to be taken with digital information that someone wants to keep for an extended period of time. As an example, a person could purchase space on a storage server for a one time cost of say $1,000.00 for 50GB today. This seems very high, but consider that this really is just a one time purchase; users would never have to pay again for the space for their information, and part of the money would be used in a legal trust to ensure that in the event that the storage management company were to fail that the trust could take over and keep your data on-line in perpetuity.

Also keep in mind that there are certain real expenses (which will decrease over time) involved with maintaining data at this level of redundancy and availability. As an example, let’s assume four copies (that’s now 200 actual Gigabytes for the 50GB you have purchased) on high-speed, redundant storage arrays located on four different continents available online 24/7 over high-speed connections, along with a “hard” back-up archive located in a decommissioned missile silo.

As times moves on, your data would have to be migrated to new systems and new storage technology. Unlike the "freezing a human body" business model, costs would come down over time as storage technology was improved and updated. In 20 years the cost to maintain 50GB would be an order of magnitude, less than today.

This storage area would not be a place to host images for web sites and blogs, but a place to keep data that you want to keep for a lifetime. At the time of creation you would also be able to set inheritance rights for your information, so that the generations to come would have access to it. Encrypted personal information could be marked for deletion upon your death.

Steps need to be taken now to create something like this so that we don't lose an entire generation’s visual historic record. Although my grandkids may not be able to rummage through old trunks of photos in an attic, they might be able to find them in some digital repository that still lets them see their family's history.

I hope I will not be part of a lost generation…

#Updated February 18th, 2010
Holy crap, I just saw a company on-line doing EXACTLY that I laid out in this blog post.... Check them out Swiss Picture Bank

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Fallout: New Vegas http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/2010/02/fallout-new-vegas/ Fri, 05 Feb 2010 00:18:57 +0000 http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/?p=420 Whoo Hoo!  The trailer for the latest Fallout game just got posted!  Check it out!

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NASA selling remaining Space Shuttles for 28 Million http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/2010/02/nasa-selling-remaining-space-shuttles-for-28-million/ Thu, 04 Feb 2010 18:31:21 +0000 http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/?p=414 I thought this was a joke, then I kept reading and found out, yeah it's not you can get your very own space shuttle for 28m, comes with external engines, some assembly required.

You have to be a US Citizen, and willing to keep it in an indoor climate controlled room where it can be put on display.

I'm in for $50, who's with me?

Here's a link to the NY Times Article.

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Craziest thing I have ever done, it involves a silver flute. http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/2010/01/craziest-thing-i-have-ever-done-it-involves-a-silver-flute/ Sun, 24 Jan 2010 21:08:51 +0000 http://www.ragingtechnoholic.com/?p=405 I ended up telling this story the other day, and afterword's I remembered it has been more than 20 years since this happened, so I decided to write it down, before I forget anything else about it.

<DISCLAIMER>
First, before I start telling this story, I want to be clear that *I* was the person who was being crazy here, and the girl in question was put into a very uncomfortable position.

I was an over zealous lonely geek who was willing to try whatever it took to impress my first real crush.

Personally I blame 18 years of watching romantic comedies, watching guys doing outlandish things that got them the girl, where in the real world it would just get them a restraining order or arrested.
</DISCLAIMER>


Back Story
I was 18, never been on a date, never kissed a girl, and was a card carrying member of Nerds of America. In most ways I am sure I was similar to tens of thousands of nerds all over America, socially awkward, looking for acceptance, and starved for affection.

The one thing that I did have going for me at the time was that I landed a good paying job (for 1988) at a post production company that colorized old movies. AFT paid me ten dollars an hour, and I thought I had won the fucking lottery

The Girl
I had a few minor crushes in High School, but my first real all consuming crush I ever had, let’s call her Kim (I have changed the names to protect the innocent).

I met Kim through some mutual friends, and was instantly smitten, not only was she nice to me, she was interested in similar nerdy/geeky things, had a bit of an air of mystery about her, and shared my sense of humor, oh and she was smoking hot.

What she did not share with me was a mutual attraction, and that is where our story really gets started.

The Idea
Also during this period in my life I became good friends with one of the guys at AFT ,Gary, and Gary was REALLY into buried Treasure books.

I don’t mean the “Where is Black Beards Gold” books, but instead books where the author has buried something of really high value, and then writes a book with clues on how to find it.

The first of which was called Masquerade painted by Kit Williams, the book gave clues to where he had hidden a jeweled golden hare had he had created and hidden somewhere in Briton. Needless to say it was a huge hit, and sparked creation of the second such contest.

The current book that Gary was trying to crack was “Treasure, Search for the Golden Horse” and as I was helping him try and find the solution, I had an idea, and idea that ultimately became what you could call one of the greatest bad plans I’v ever had.

I decided that I had one shot at going from friend to something else and Kim’s 18th Birthday was approaching in Oct, approximately 8 months away.

My plan was to create such a wildly imaginative, romantic, time intensive gift, that she would see me for who I really was.

You can see where things are about to go pear shaped.

The Plan
Although I’m fantastic with ideas, I’m not an artist, which means i would have to outsource just about everything, so I had to have a complete plan before I could start farming the pieces out.

In a nut shell I wrote down everything I could think of that she liked, and from that list, create a mythology, a prize, and clues that would ultimately become the building blocks of the project.

Kim played the flute, and loved medieval imagery, dolphins, adventures, emeralds, puzzles, fantasy art, etc. So I started to work out how to involve all of these into the aforementioned hair brained plan.

Design

Synopsis: I would give her a book for her birthday detailing a story of a Princess (yes of course it was her) that had to rescue her little brother from demons that stolen him in the night.

Somewhere along on her adventures she was given a silver flute that she would ultimately use to summon a spectral army to defeat the demons and return her bother back home. Only the next morning to realize she had lost the silver flute at some point during the battle.

My first problem was that I needed to get a writer to write the story for the book, since it obviously wasn’t going to be me, so I hired Gary to be the writer, and had him place the elements into the story that needed to happen, I guess Gary could say this was his first spec writing gig.

Although Gary did a great job, I ask another fiend Ted, to come in and make some changes, and punch it up a bit story wise. Ted also did all of the original illustrations for the book, about 12 pieces in all, and did a bang up job on each of them.

Then of course I needed to get it printed, this was before laser printers were around, so I used a contact at a type setting company to type set the book for me in a nice looking layout/font, and then got it bound in leather.

Next up was trying to find someone that could make a solid silver flute, it’s not what you would call an everyday item, especially since I wanted it to look like something out of a fantasy novel, so after a few months of hunting around I found a local silver smith who would take the job on. Four months later I was handed a solid silver flute, and really nasty bill.

Next up I found a local graphic artist to create the map, I wanted something challenging, and yet not something that was going to have her still working on it day later. So we created a really nice parchment map that had her astrological constellation in the middle, with a poem around the outside.

Looked like something out of Time Bandits if you remember that movie, then if you folded the map just right, the star constellation changed to that of a map to a park near her house, and the poem if you followed these lines said something like “Look you under third tree from right, park of childhood youth”

I made the wooden box for the flue since I couldn’t find anyone to do it, and I placed the flute in it, and locked it with a little emerald encrusted key.

All in all it was about eight months of my life working on the project, and wouldn’t you know it, about two months before her birthday she started casually seeing someone.

Obviously this sucked balls, but I was to far down the path to stop, I had spent so much of my time, energy and creativity on this thing, I had to see it through.

Execution
The night of her Birthday came and went, and well, you can guess how this story ends. I’m sure she was very flattered, but in the end it wasn’t going to change how she felt about me, and stress of putting her in such an uncomfortable situation took a toll on our friendship so we ended up drifting apart as friends.

In the end though, I’m glad I did it, I’d rather be the person that was capable creating something like that, even having failed, than be the person who aways thought about it, but never tried. I would rather be The Man in the Arena.

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