Ok, I've been a lousy diarist for the last two weeks. Best to just accept that mistakes happen and move on with life. Deep breath, people. Inhale. Exhale. I'll try not to let it happen again for a while.
So what's been happening for the last two weeks? Well, I spent the first week interacting poorly with all kinds of devices. First, part of my work here at Company O. involves running these large, 48 hour tests using groups of a computers in a computer lab over the weekend. Actually, it is "should involve", not "involve". The tests never actually ran over the weekend prior to the weekend of July 2-3 for reasons that are not completely clear right now. They ran over that weekend, though -- because I changed the dates on the clocks of those machines to think that it was actually July 5.
This was a good step forward that was followed by two steps back. It seems that certain software running on some of the machines is very sensitive about clock changes (for licensing reasons.) When I returned the clocks to the correct date on July 6, that software pitched a MAJOR fit that kept me from collecting any additional data for the rest of the week. It took a couple calls to software tech support plus some fiddling with license keys to get everything working again.
Next, I came into conflict with corporate security at Company O. We just completed an annual "spring cleaning" of our machine rooms around here. This involves taking old hardware that is no longer really useful to Company O. out of the machine rooms where it ran for years, so Company O. can re-furbish it or throw it out. Needless to say, a lot of machines made it to these disposal carts on each floor of our building... and my colleagues and I engaged in a lot of "dumpster diving" to get free computer hardware. Mrs. Geek's school is in need of a new web server and I thought one of the cast offs (an eight year old Dell server) would fill that role rather nicely. The whole idea went according to plan until I tried to get the computer past security. They wouldn't let me take it out of the building without permission of my manager. I see why... but I'm not sure I want to go to the trouble to explain all this to him.
I also had trouble with my first eBay purchase. My Onkyo tape deck arrived in one piece and on time, but did not work when I removed it from its box. Great, I thought... $70 down the tubes. Fortunately, the seller was a real stand-up guy. He thought he was selling me a working deck and quickly agreed to refund me $30 for my trouble. I was able to use that money to purchase another, working tape deck of the same make and model for $12.50 on eBay and a service manual for both decks from a web site in Russia. Turns out my first deck has a blown power supply that (hopefully) can be fixed with two transistors and a capacitor. I knew my college degree in Electrical Engineering would come in handy eventually.
Finally, I took a step into the 21st Century recently by getting a cell phone. I know, I know... there are those of you crying "you didn't get a cell phone until last week?!?! how did you survive???" Part of my reticence where cell phones was concerned stems from how I saw friends using cell phones back in the late 90's. In those days, my friends got cell phones from their employers, start up companies mostly, who absolutely, positively wanted to reach my friends whenever and wherever they wished. After the agony of finishing a Ph.D. dissertation, being "on call" for an employer was pretty much the last thing I wanted in the world. Oh yes, that and I was just lazy about it. Really lazy.
Given the mechanical mayhem I encountered in the earlier week, I was a little gunshy about introducing a new piece of technology into my life... but it actually worked out well. I got a nice little LG-PM325 phone. It's cool.
There is more to tell, mostly about a trip to the Great Northwest that I just returned from last night. Those tales will have to wait, however. Until then.
on 2005-07-20 at 3:23 p.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond