WordPress upgrade status: SUCCESS!

I upgraded from 2.9.0 to 3.2.1, after deploying a couple test sites to try the procedure out on first, then making multiple backups of the core, the plugins, the themes the images and files, the scripts and static web pages.

I left nothing to chance.

Not that any of you will see anything different, but WordPress 3 provides some extra fancy stuff behind the scenes.

What’s the time in Boston?

You know, as much as I’ve derided Twitter over the last couple years, it really isn’t all that bad now that I’ve started using it.

Granted, since Twitter is the world’s largest intellectual toilet bowl, you do get a lot of shit. But you occasionally get gems like these:

Yep, that’s Mike Finke who, like any regular traveler at an airport, whipped out his device and Tweeted that he’d arrived (I can’t believe I just used that word…. “Tweeted”). Only this wasn’t from gate 17 after a 14 hour flight across the Pacific… it was from the Kennedy Space Center after a two week mission on the Space Shuttle! Astronauts are just like everyone else, I guess.

And this is Ron Garan, part of Expedition 27/28 on the International Space Station which STS134 was visiting. He watched the landing From Spaaaaaace!

Also, I’ve been retweeted twice in a row. Here’s my latest after watching the Canucks get humiliated in Boston:

Retweets certainly get around fast.

Too bad for Luongo, one of the heroes of Team Canada in the Vancouver Olympics. Series is now tied at 2-2 (at the time of writing this) as they head back to Vancouver. I hope they win. I need a new Vancouver jersey to replace my old one to commemorate. It’s the only current Canadian team I don’t have.

Disaster averted

It took all in my power, but I managed to stop Suzanne from being drawn to the Dumb Side. She’s had it in her mind to buy an iPhone for a few weeks, dropping hints that became less and less subtle as time wore gone on. I told her that if she can manage to fit it into our budget, then by all means she can get whatever phone she wants but please reconsider and choose Android. Hell, I’d even accept it if she went Windows Mobile, anything but Apple.

iPhone is stupid

I mean if running multiple apps at the same time, configurable home screens, a better app market, more useful notifications, a choice of hardware, custom ROMs, and smoother social integration aren’t reason enough then you are a hopeless fanboi waste of oxygen.

So after a fair amount of reasoning, begging and pleading as well as some threats and intimidation I managed to convince Suzanne to settle on an HTC Incredible S, a far better and cheaper option than the Apple iPhone. I think she will enjoy it much more than the iPhone.


What am I writing about again?

I took all the text from all my public posts on my blog posted in 2011 and fed them into a Word Cloud generator. I’m not sure what I was expecting to see, and I’m not sure whether or not to be disappointed but I can’t really find any particular theme in there. It’s mostly a mish mash of non-descriptive, non-emotive words devoid of any real meaning.

It kinda makes me think about why I continue to write at all, since I don’t seem to be writing about anything in particular. What do you guys think? Should I mention family more? The family blogs I see where people put a whole new group of photos of their smiling child every single day are fine and all, but they’re not my thing. They certainly don’t have any attraction outside immediate family. Or pedos. Should I pick a subject or theme and stick to it. People certainly seem to respond well to my previous critiques of certain local retailers and restaurants. Maybe that’s something I should investigate?

Maybe the word cloud is showing I’m well balanced, and don’t have a preference for speaking or writing about one thing over the other. I’ve got a few other sites running with strictly defined subject matter, so I guess this personal blog is the “everything else” basket with a bias to personal experience.

Which is how it should be. It’s just me thinking aloud, really.

Dear Kids

This is something I’ve been doing for a couple years. Every so often I’ll email my kids. They don’t actually have email quite yet, but they do have email addresses. I plan on letting them read them either in their mid teens when they start hating me, or perhaps on their 18th or 21st birthdays. I haven’t decided which yet. It’ll be a treasure trove of thoughts and feelings I have for them and will hopefully bring them some joy later on. Below is a pretty sappy video showing the spirit of what I’m trying to do.

Thank goodness for the cloud

Welcome to the Cloud

I had a hard drive failure on my year-and-a-half old laptop last week. Normally this would be a complete disaster which would cause weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Yet, thanks to cheap storage, cloud computing,  and a bit of cheap software, I barely noticed.

I’ve got around 190 GB of photos, a TB and a half of music and some reasonably large quantity of video files. The music and video are backed up locally on a network drive, but the photos are backed up not once locally, but twice. And they’re also PGP encrypted and backed up remotely in case my house burns down and I lose everything.

My emails back themselves up automatically, bouncing and being replicated from one mail server to the other. I almost exclusively use Gmail for my email needs. All of this should mean that my email is never in danger of being lost and is always accessible. Likewise, I use Google Docs for my day to day “Office” style needs. I’ve decided I can’t trust Google not to lose my stuff so I have it backed up elsewhere after being encrypted with a 2048 bit PGP key, of course. Google even takes care of my bookmarks, just one of those little inconveniences that adds to the nightmare of losing a data.

Sadly we aren’t at the point yet where backing up several TB of data is cheap and fast enough to be taken for granted otherwise it’d all be out there. We’ll need to wait for the National Broadband Network for that. But I’m at least covered with the stuff I can’t live without including documents and photos.

Also, thank goodness I decided to buy Dell. A simple, painless phonecall to a 1-1800 number and I found that my HD failure was covered and that they were going to send a new one out to me by courier on the condition that I send the old one back. Fair enough, they can have it. I doubt they’ll be able to read anything from it because the whole disk is encrypted with Bitlocker, part of Windows 7 Ultimate. Once the disk starts up it will realise that it’s no longer connected to my Trusted Platform and will ask for a 20-character long key.

The only real disaster in this whole scenario is when I went to remove my broken drive. One of the screws was jammed, and I managed to strip it. I mean, they’re only soft-as-butter 3mm screws, so any amount of force will break them apart. I was ready to take at it with a Dremel and a can of WD-40 but, Suzanne, being the voice of reason, said I should call Dell first and tell them what happened. Dell, indeed, were very understanding and said they’d send a technician out the next day. And out he indeed did come. I’ve met him a couple times before as he’s been to our office to service equipment previously. “So you know why you’re out here?” I asked. He knew, alright, because he had a big cheesy grin from ear to ear. So after enduring his “You Id10t” look for five minutes I was able to boot into Windows.

My backups mean I haven’t really missed a beat. I’ve had to reinstall Photoshop so I can get back into tweaking photos for a couple of my sites but all in all it has been pretty painless.

I have new hardware

We’re all getting new computers at work. Finally, no more 386 with Windows NT! We’ve gone with 8GB laptops, with 256 GB SSDs and dual 1200 x 1920 displays running 64-bit Windows 7 Enterprise.

The only decision now is what to name it. For the last couple years I’ve gone with GAGARIN but I want something new and sexy. I was hoping to get everyone to stick to a theme like the Seven Deadly Sins, but we’d probably end up fighting over WRATH.

We could go with

  • Alecto
  • Magaera
  • Tisiphone

who where otherwise known as The Furies from Greek Mythology, but three isn’t really enough to go around. Seven or more would be ideal. I don’t want something obvious like the Seven Dwarfs. The surnames of The Magnificent Seven might be cool.

Or perhaps the Enterprise Captains:

  • April
  • Pike
  • Kirk
  • Spock
  • Picard
  • Archer
  • Janeway

I was thinking of the names of The Fellowship from The Lord of the Rings, but out of the few hundred hosts on the network they’re pretty much already covered. I’d get shouted down for suggesting Sith Lords from Star Wars or Replicants from Blade Runner so we need something else.

Movies and mythology are fine, but how about something historical? Like the Mercury Astronauts:

  • Shepard
  • Grissom
  • Glenn
  • Carpenter
  • Shirra
  • Cooper
  • Slayton

Seven Emperors?

  • Julius
  • Augustus
  • Galba
  • Hadrian
  • Nerva
  • Sallust
  • Vespasian

In all probability we aren’t going to stick to a theme, so I’ll have to end up choosing something just for myself. I’m partial to Battlestar Galactica characters, or even names of Sci-Fi corporations like Weyland-Yutani, Tyrell, Cyberdine or Greystone.

Leave a comment, give me some suggestions.

Japan earthquake and tsunami – Google Person Finder

A cousin of Suzanne’s who is living in Perth is married to a Japanese girl who hasn’t heard from her parents since the earthquake, which is really sad and quite a shock.

Google has put together a Person Finder tool where people worried about the plight of their loved ones can look them up by name, which is a great humanitarian effort from the search giant.

Prayer for Japan

National Broadband Network myths

I was working on an article much the same as this for the last week or two, but what the hell. This one is much better. It exposes the myths associated with the National Broadband Network. Read it at http://nbnmyths.wordpress.com/

TL;DR version:

The NBN costs too much, private sector will build it, we don’t need anything this fast, nobody else in the world is doing this, our network is already good enough, wireless is better, people don’t even want fixed internet, it will end up costing the consumer too much, it will cost thousands to install, FTTP only has a 15 year lifetime.