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InkBlot's Journal

I'm not sure what this is, it's just here...

Category: Random Stuff (page 1 of 2)

Vacation Time!

Just got back from our big vacation this year.  This year, we took part in our first ever JoCo Cruise Crazy.

The cruise was on Royal Carribean’s Freedom of the Seas. We left Orlando, went down to a private island in the Bahamas, then on to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and finally back home. On top of that, a large portion of us were part of a small convention called JoCo Cruise Crazy. It’s small, about 1100 people (out of the 4k on the boat), and had sci/fi fantasy authors like John Scalzi and Patrick Rothfuss, musicians like Jonathan Coulton and Paul & Storm, and actors like Wil Wheaton and Paul F. Thompkins.
We flew out to Orlando on Friday, stayed overnight to head out to our ship on Saturday.  We were sailing on “Freedom of the Seas”, notable for NOT being the “Anthem of the Seas”, which just seems to be having a really horrible year. That one had a January cruise canceled after a bad storm, and when we showed up for our cruise we heard they just got benched again for norovirus.  Again, glad it wasn’t us.

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In other news…

This past year, some big things have happened for me.   First, I changed jobs…sort of.     I still work in the same company, but I’ve moved from being a Technical Trainer with the Tech Support department, to being a ‘System Engineer’ in the Release Management 1)Yes, this is an ITIL term. team.   This means I help shepherd software from the developers out to all the servers and workstations in our little world.

It’s a marked change for me…for about 20 years now 2)ouch…now I feel old, I’ve worked in some form of tech support.   Even up to the last 8 years as a trainer.   I wasn’t always on the front lines, but I was always there, fighting to make Windows PCs work for users who’d rather be doing something other than fighting with their PCs.   Now, I’m doing a variety of things: installing services and daemons on UNIX servers, packaging and deploying windows software, and on and on.

I’ve been working so hard to reach a point where I felt like I was accomplishing something on more than just a person-by-person basis.   In Training, I felt I was going to reach that point…but I didn’t.   Lots of reasons, and I might do a post-mortem some time, but not now.   Suffice it to say, I need to grow.   I needed a change.   My new job is fantastic.   I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water some days, but on others I do feel occasional bursts of brilliance.

Sometimes, when you’re in a comfortable little groove, you forget how exciting and thrilling leaving that groove and striking out in a new direction can be.

References   [ + ]

1. Yes, this is an ITIL term.
2. ouch…now I feel old

What time is it?

Good lord, it’s August already!?   Well, to be honest, I’ve been a bit of a hermit this year on purpose.   The outside world’s been a scary place, and it feels like I can’t turn on the internet (yep, “the news” has become passe’) without seeing all sorts of hate spewing forth.

I just started typing some examples but realized:   1) I can’t make them funny, even in a sarcastic manner, because it’s just that bad.   And 2) I don’t want to run the risk of that sort of thing getting crawled by a search engine.   All I know is,

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Dear Interwebs Designers

Please stop with the “slideshows” already. I realize you feel you’re doing me a favor not forcing me to scroll up and down long pages of text, by making me click your dhtml icons to flip through content. You even try to appease me with little thumbnails of the “slides” that I might skip around your content at my leisure.

Here’s the deal. On my mouse, and indeed most computer mice produced in the last 10 years, I have a scroll wheel. This little wheel allows me to scroll up and down web pages incredibly fast, without regard to where on the page my little mouse pointer might be.

Your slideshow, on the other hand, requires me to find the tiny buttons you’ve set out, click and wait for new content to load, and be mindful of the really clever gits among you who think I’m too lazy to do that much, and so advance their slideshows automatically to some arbitrary timer!

Remember that click wheel? Well, in most modern web-browser, it’s not just a wheel – it’s a button. A magic button which opens links in new tabs or windows. So in my daily browsing, I don’t usually open one web page or web link at a time – I open several. Then I browse through each one in my own arbitrary way, opening new tabs however my whims might dictate.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I like your content and I appreciate when you deliver it in a clean, efficient manner with a hint of style. I don’t appreciate it when your stylistic impulses take over, and you feel the need to force feed me your content with a mallet.   Please stop.

Especially with the timers.   Half the time, I don’t even remember why I opened that tab, since it’s usually moved on from “Cheerleaders of the National Curling League” or whatever, to “Tree Frogs of Out Mongolia” or something silly like that, and I’m left feeling morally ambiguous towards a bunch of amphibians.   Which reminds me.   Hey, YouTube!   Every other video site has learned not to start downloading/playing web videos until that page becomes the active window (i.e., someone’s looking at it?), when will you?

Another post for apologies…

I need to keep up my XKCD quotient (see last entry).   Anyhoo, it occurred to me I ought to let anyone still following me know I’ve survived another year.   It’s January, and this bear would very much like to go back to hibernating, thank you.   I often have a dribble of vacation time left at the end of each year (which I must use, per my company’s particular vacation policy), and 2009 was no different.   Without deliberately planning it out, I managed two full weeks off around Christmas and New Year’s.

This week finds me back at work, settling into my old routine.   I won’t deny, like many I succumb to New Year’s reflections, although it’s been some time since I actually tried making a resolution.   I deeply resent the guilt I feel as December turns to January, and I think of everything I didn’t do over the last year.   I feel bad enough about this stuff on a regular basis, I’ll be damned if I’m going to feel extra guilt just because the last digits on my calendar changed too.

But then, I suppose that’s what we’re doing with our calendars…marking time as our lives go along, noting where we are and want to be.   If I take each day as it comes, and ignore the things in my life I desperately wish to change, maybe I need that extra jolt at New Year’s to make me focus.

So at the risk of being hypocritical (for I have little faith in myself, which is why I normally avoid this), I am actually looking at the new year and figuring out goals for myself.   Things I wish to do, things I wish to change, dare I say it: I’m looking for the resolve within myself to be better.

No, I probably shouldn’t say that, it sounds pretentious.   Still, it’s what I’m doing.   If I’m feeling really brave, I might even post some of it here and hold it out for the world to see.

Until then, take care of yourselves and be good to one another.   I’ll be here.

I’ve been exposed!

XKCD: SuperlativeOver at XKCD, a recent comic describes me a bit too accurately.   Take a peek, and substitute Spanish for French, and either books or video games for dreams.

Oddly, I don’t discuss my own dreams that much.   Few stay with me beyond waking.   But I do love good stories, and in addition to a good book, I love a video game that tells a real story.

Which reminds me, I hope Assassin’s Creed II is out soon…

Cash for Tumblers?

Been seeing a lot of conservatives poking at the recent Cash for Clunkers program. Our govt, of course, underestimated the appeal and $1 billion in funds expected to last four months only lasted a week. There is, understandably, much to poke fun at here.

What I don’t entirely get, however, is this chain of thought: I keep seeing pundits ask, “why did we pay people to buy cars? Why not…” washer/dryers, sofas, pizza, etc.

Call me dense here, but I figured we were going for stimulus, right? Maximum economic impact? So, I buy a new car, saving over $4 grand, I’m pretty happy. I’m going out to drive around my new little car, eating out more, seeing movies, generally being a good little consumer.

You pay me to buy a new washer/dryer? I’m…doing my laundry. Nice and all, especially if I don’t have a washer/dryer now, but the likelihood of it changing my spending habits is pretty low. Oh, I might buy detergent now. The makers of Tide are happy.

Cars are major purchases, and the Cash for Clunkers is a significant rebate…enough that, in my humble opinion, recipients are more likely to redirect that back into the economy than $150 off a washer/dryer or sofa.

Today’s Stupid

Whether it’s me or the other guy, I’ll let you decide.

A side link on Digg led me to the article Seven (More) Reasons to Ditch Your iPhone.   I’ll point out now, for full disclosure.   I own a cat.   Oh, and an iPhone, too.

So far as I know, the cat is not impressed by my iPhone.

Anyhoo, the author of said article has lined up his reasons why we should be throwing the torches and pitchforks Apple’s way, and abandoning ship for a cheaper, more friendly cell phone & carrier.   Although, he’s directing his ire at Apple, not AT&T, but I digress.   I’ve read the article, and I have to call “crap!”

Let’s look at his points, shall we?

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Rules for Superhero Movies

I was talking this over with a coworker today, so I thought I’d put it out here for dicussion.   My rules of Superhero Movies aren’t necessarily proscriptive, but instead describe what Superhero Movies ought to do, if they wish to be successful.   Plenty of movies try to exceed these limitations all the time, and the results aren’t always pretty.

It’s a work in progress, so I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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So a little team builder at work recently ran me through the Myers-Briggs assessment.   I’ve taken it before, and I’m sure I’ll be subjected to it again, and I often get the same results each time.   For those of you wishing to get to know me better, maybe these results of my assessment will help.   Maybe not.

It feels an awful lot like reading your horoscope in the newspaper and going, “that is so MEEEEEE!”

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