Monday, December 24, 2007

Of all the stupid...

This is going to be my last post before the holiday season, I'm pretty sure. (And my last post from my current job.)

The point:

Everytime a band from back home, Slowcoaster, come to town I never know about it. Turns out that they played in a bar downtown two weekends ago. I need to start stalking them so I can finally catch one of their live shows. To make matters worse, they're playing a New Years eve party at a bar back home, which of course, I'm going to be back in Fredericton attending a New Years celebration that doesn't feature Slowcoaster performing. I'm a little peeved about that.

But on the upside. Here's a clip of them performing in PEI last year.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Seasons of Change...

Happy Holidays.

In honour of the holiday season I shall share with you this picture that i have found of Santa a-la-South Park.

In other news my tiny area of the unread web will go on a small but temporary hiatus over the holidays while I visit some family and gorge myself on Turkey and gravy... mmmmm Gravy.

In yet, more news, who knew that this would be such an exciting day?, I have accepted a position with another company less than 3 months after starting the job that I'm currently at. I'm leaving before I even finished my probationary period.

Coincidentally, its the same company that I left in the first place. They had contacted me to contract out some work for 3 or 4 months when we started talking about things that have opened up. My basic job function will still remain the same, I'll be responsible for maintaining some web servers and applications as well as providing some training and minor development, I will also get the genuinely terrifiable task of becoming the lead trainer in the Brunei project.

This would be where I'd be going. [all the way on the other side of the world, like 16,000 KM away.]

View Larger Map

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Play this and tell me it isn't fun....

Here and here and here and over here is a game, its called "Don't Let Go."

The premise is simple:

* Click the Ball
* It will move, keep your mouse on the ball.
* Don't let go of the mouse.

I've been playing it for a bit this morning and managed to score 34.2221 seconds, let me know if you can beat that!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Made in Canada = Illegal in Canada?

I first heard the above from Urban Ichthyosapien in their blog which has much to do about the wrong doings in Canada politics. (Such as the DMCA that I was bitching about earlier.) Watch it and tell me why Canadians can't buy a car thats built in their own country because its illegal. The selling point of the car: it has ZERO emissions. Here

Awards and Strangeness

Thanks to the ever lovely Odd Facts I have received my very first award. Isn't it pretty. You can see it right here. <-----

Now, I don't quite know what I've done to receive my award apart from having a blog thats scattered and all over the place, but still it makes me feel special that there's someone out there who actually reads.

As for the strangeness I've mentioned above, there is some news on the horizon concerning a few areas of my life. I shall not tell you what they are for that might jinx what might be going on but to say the least, its very big news.

My cousin is arriving from London, England today for the holidays. It's been a few months since I've seen her but I always look forward to hearing from her and see what quirky words she's picked up since the last time she was home.

Did you know that "Crimbo" is slang for Christmas? Neither did I. You learn something new everyday.


I've mentioned that we've got another kitty in our house. I don't know if I told you her name. We originally (yes, its going to be one of these stories) had named her Goliath, but that was a stupid name for a girl cat. We then decided upon Susi, since that was a very cute name. We took her to the vet for her very first checkup and the vet lifted her tail and exclaimed... "She's a he." I kind of looked as him puzzlingly and rolled over the turn of events in my mind.... I thought, "Damnit, now he needs a new name." After much debate and fighting Nico was decided up as the name for the new kitty. He's getting along much better now and there hardly is any hissing with the other cats. They're even sleeping together now too.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

News & Excitement

Music Listening to: The Tea Party - Coming Back Again

I was given a joyous task tonight at work, really it was my first thing to do that wasn't studying for the tests that I don't want to write.

I was told to go through old training material for a donut shoppe (where people are often found “dunkin” their donuts) and look for references that need to be removed. Initially I thought that it would be fun because I could easily look at the slides and makes notes of what needs to change.


Then I thought that I could listen to music while performing this menial task. Atleast that would be entertaining.


Then I thought, well, this certainly is going to suck. It shouldn't take me too long to do it.


I had to go through VIDEO's. Boring, monotone videos describing workplace safety and how to properly interact with the disabled.

Normally I would look at this task as a little bonus that enabled me to further myself in the eyes of my employer, but mostly its just busy work. So I don't surf the 'Net the entire time I'm at work. (And by surf the 'Net I really mean spending time downloading music and watching YouTube.)

.... As for the news. I can't really say, but there might be something interesting happening.

In other news. We got a new KITTY!!

She's right cute. We took her to the vet today and found out that he's not a girl and that wasn't a vagina I seen on him.... I wonder what it was then?

We're calling him Nico. I'll post a picture of him soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sad... but cool.

In the spirit of Christmas, here are a few of the things that I want.

Football (soccer) fans are snapping up toasters in club colours which brand slices of bread with their team's initials. Ipswich sold out of the £45 appliance in only two days. (Mirror)"

Thats right, you can buy you're very own toaster that brands your toast with the initials/logo of your favourite team. How cool would that be? You could strategically place your strawberry and blueberry jam in the grooves of the logo to recreate it in the appropriate colours.

I'm still trying to find a link where I can purchase these toasters.


Remote Control Missle Launcher


Attach the cord to your computer. Install the software. Launch the missles. How much fun could that be. Now if only they would install it with a webcam so that you can mount it in odd places and control it remotely. This has already been placed on my wish list.


Water Powered Clock


Based on this description: "
How does it work? Magic mostly. And a little bit of science too. " I want it now.


Binary Clock


Are you a nerd? Do you know binary? Show off your ability to your friends by getting this neeto clock. You can then tell them that its now: 1000:0000 1000 pm. (8:08)


Plasma Mug


Think of it like a static ball in a GLASS. "Touch the outer glass with your fingertips, and watch as the colorful plasma magically follows your every move!"


Mood LED Jellyfish


Did you ever have a lava lamp and think it was the coolest thing in the world? Well now you can toss out that '70s hippie crap and replace it with JellyFish! (The page has a really cool video showing off its coolness)


Posable Magnetic Robots


They're robots what more do you need to say? And with a description like this.... who could resist?

"Get a bunch! They love to play together and they'll stay happier longer. You want your Acrobots to be happy don't you? Oh, and never forget that no matter what happens - YOU are always their King. That way you can never feel guilty about how you pose them."


Blunt Office Signs


"This Isn't An Office: It's Hell With Fluorescent Lighting!" hehehehehe


Stuffed Tux


Yes! He will be mine!

I should never be allowed to be alone on this website EVER again.


of a sort.

Normally I don't post links to other sites on the Internet but I found this today and I can't help but continually reading the little dots. If you've ever wondered about American foreign policy over the years this will shed some light on interesting things that have happened. Some of the items highlighted I knew about (Saddam's funding for war on Iran after the leader of Iran went crazy after being appointed by the US). Take a look I'm sure you might find something you've not known before.

Here's something a little more light. Basically, its a random bit of IT buffoonery over the years as reported by various Techies all over the world.


As an update from my last post. My recent installation of Linux over the weekend*. Went surprisingly well, I managed to get Ubuntu Linux installed, configured and setup correctly twice in that time frame.

Twice!? You may be asking. Let me explain.

For some reason my laptop would seize up and after unplugging the power and booting again the OS would be completely dead and beyond repair, thus warranting a re-installation.

For the couple of days that I had my laptop setup I absolutely loved the environment that I was working with Ubuntu is a fantastic place for anyone to start their use of Linux. The only downside that I have found was the fact that my wireless was not properly detected and installed, which I was expecting and had researched ahead of time.

I may give the re-installation another opportunity during my next set of Days off, but I may hold off until after the new year and my next Certification exam has been written.

* it was my weekend, your mid-week

Monday, December 10, 2007

On again, off again, on again ...

Listening to: Hanzel und Gretyl - L'Experience des Dificultes Technique | Nine Inch Nails - Love is Not Enough (Live)

I just wish I'd make up my mind sometimes.

It looks as though my migration away from Windows is going to be happening again. And its all thanks to my wonderful laptop.

Don't get me wrong I love my laptop I think its a fantastic piece of machinery. I've never had a computer as good as the one that I have now, but there seems to be some interference.

I noticed last night while I was working that my mp3s tend to skip and stutter sometimes. You never come between a geek and his music, thats sacrilege.

At first I thought it was due to bad sound quality or faulty songs. As a test I put one of the offending songs into each of my mp3 players on my computer (of which I have 5) and it played with the same stuttering results. Test one passed.

I then copied the song to my MP3 player where upon the song played perfectly without any problem what so ever. Test two failed.

After doing some quality research (5 minutes on Google) I discovered that I'm not the only one encountering this problem. There are loads of other people with my particular laptop who are experiencing similar problems. The most common problem was the microphone from the webcam was interfering with the sound. So, I disabled it.

No better. Test three failed.

Other times it was because of old / out-dated drivers. I uninstalled and reinstalled drivers for my soundcard.

No better. Test four failed.

All the time I was buzzing around the internet trying to see what the problem was. Then someone casually mentioned that they had solved the problem by changing some settings in their *wireless* settings.

Could it be true, could my wireless intenet be causing all of the headaches that I've been having with my MP3s. (I've been re-ripping *tons* of songs.)

As a test, I flicked off the wireless internet and started up my test song.

Played flawlessly. Test five passed.

More swearing ensued.

And then I rejoiced as it has finally given me a reason to install Linux for good.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Stuck in the middle of ...

Listening to: Nine Inch Nails - Closer

Were you ever left alone at work to fend for yourself?

I'm sure we all have at one point or another, most of the time its not even really much of a big deal. Sometimes it happens as a test to see how you can deal with certain situations, other times its because there isn't anyone around to assist you.

But then there are the times where you really wish there was someone around who could have been there to deal with what you just went through.

It seems weird that I was just helping a student with something that I knew nothing about, yet everything that they said made complete and total sense. It was even to the point where I knew that they had made a mistake in their calculations.

Actually, the only saving grace was that they knew exactly what they were talking about.

I didn't do a damn thing to help them.

Now, I'm going to spend the next 4 hours of my work learning what they were talking about...

Friday, December 7, 2007

I've been quietly sitting back and looking at the world lately when suddenly out of nowhere, here & here.

Let me summarize.

For years I have been proud to be living in Canada for the simple fact that I can walk into anyones house and make a copy of one of their CDs and have it be perfectly legal. The same goes for file sharing, I could obtain obscure songs from artists that have only printed 200 copies of a vinyl record pressed in Estonia and not worry.

Now, it turns out that the tide might be changing. The “Industry” minister wants to implement and update the copyright policies within Canada. What was the point of this? Who called for it?

The RIAA and MPAA.

The new laws that he wants to implement are in the best interest of the INDUSTRY and not of the consumers. These laws protect the media conglomerates that own most of the music that we buy; the companies that have profits close to $2 or $3 billion a year.

The part that gets me is that its going to be illegal for me to rip a song from a CD that I own. They are going to attempt to make me buy the digital version of the song to put onto my iPod. Fuck them.

The only thing that the DMCA will establish, and look at the US for guidance, its going to turn the average consumer into a Pirate. When in actuality they should be concentrating on finding ways to stop the people who distribute albums and movies before they're released.

I have this fear that some day soon there are going to be 20,000 lawsuits of fans in Canada for breaking the law and infringing on copyright. But then again they might try to make it mandatory for us to install software on our computers that would inhibit our ability to do illegal things.

There is no law you can put in place, no locks on media that you can install that will not be broken. Hell, they already broke the code in HD-DVD's to copy them, I think it took them a week to crack.

Oh, by the way, if there are any of you out there who want to be the next “Weird Al” Yankovich... you're screwed. They're removing the Parody clause meaning its going to be illegal to create a parody song and post it somewhere. Doesn't matter whether you're selling it or giving it away for free.

I think I'm going to move to Sweeden.

Coffee Problems Update

So, I've managed to track down and fix the problem that I have been having with my Java application. It was quite simple actually. I was missing a single line in my code that caused my "smoke" message.

I've spent too much time trying to figure out how to get my program to print messages to me that I forgot to actually look for the cause of the problem. Its strange how you can easily get distracted by the simplest things... ooooooohhhhh shiny.

If I had simply directed my attention to an area about 6 lines up from the error message I would have noticed what was missing. Or... I would have noticed what wasn't there so I couldn't have noticed it was missing.... thats still not right.

I noticed something was missing, but couldn't quite tell what it was initially. F*ck I hate sentences that are worded weirdly. (Yet, I go out of my way to make that last one as hard to comprehend as I could. Go figure.)

I could bore you with the details of how I fixed the program, and what exactly was missing. But I think its better suited for an explanation using the smoke detector analogy.

Solution steps:

After receiving the terribly worded "I smell smoke" message when I attempted to run my program, I noticed something.

I didn't put batteries in the smoke detector in the first place.

[Its a simple way of saying that I didn't declare a variable.] {Damn those details creeping in.}

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Java Problems

Did you ever build something completely from scratch to fill some purpose in your life?
Did you ever get to the end only to realize that someone else built something just like it?
Did you ever test it and decide that it works just fine?
Did you ever want to show someone what you build and have it break on you?

Thats where I am at present. I built an application for one of my clients in town.

They wanted it to keep track of their own clients and allow them to do a search through it based on key words. Its basically an overly simple search tool that they could have easily cooked up in Access given the right amount of time.

It didn't take me long to build and test, in all about 12 hours is what I billed them for. I brought it into the office for them to view and they absolutely loved it. They had a few suggestions for me to add functionality, which was worth it.

A few months had passed when I realized that they didn't actually receive their copy of the software. I gave them a call to mention it to them and share a laugh; turns out that they had actually forgotten that they paid for it. They had actually had been concerned with finding a new laptop to upgrade their P3 desktop computer.

(I'm not evil and didn't make them pay for it twice, though I did under charge them in the beginning.)

Back to the point.

After bringing the software to their office I copied the files onto their new laptop and installed the tiny database and Java Runtime. Took less than 2 minutes.

I double clicked the executable, and with a grin on my face waited for the interface to load....

I swore.

I swore like a sailor.


If you've ever worked with Java, this is basically the worst error message you can receive. Its general, vague, and difficult to track down since it can be caused by many different factors.

Think of it like having a talking smoke alarm.

A good message to receive: "The lamp in the corner of the living room is smoldering on the east side of the 2nd floor of a 10 story building."

This is what a nullPointerException message would be like: "I smell smoke."

Now, you can sense the frustration that I was feeling.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Minimalist world view...

Here is a little story I came up with this morning. Its about life in a park on a windy day and how people don't take the time to see the little things around them. Life on the planet is so relaxing as it happens before your eyes.


The trees lean towards the left as the breeze cuts across the park. From across the park I can see people hurrying in and out of shoppes; scurrying like mice in a rain storm. Not a drop of water has fallen yet but the everyones faces will tell you otherwise.

A steady line of leaves roll past my feet as I sit on the bench. Alternating between red, orange and brown; they jump and dance in the air as if happy to have escaped from the clutches of the trees.

Naked and alone, a single sapling stands shivering to my right. If it were a person I would gladly give it my sweater, as I'm finding it a little warm today. I wait for the tree to get swept out of the ground as a strong gust picks up. The tree seems determined to hold its ground, not willing to move for anyone.

From around the corner of a building a man in a suit comes running. With a briefcase in hand, he attempts to seek refuge from the impending storm. He runs across the park with one hand on his head and the other holding his briefcase over his head. He is attempting to keep his hair piece from blowing away; days like these make me wonder why he even bothers.

He runs without looking. His eyes are fixed on one thing only, making it across the park without getting wet. Full of determination and confidence, he looks as though he has just negotiated the contract of his life.

Feeling as though he's still in control of everyone around him, the high powered business man almost knocks over a toddler playing in the sand. He quickly side steps the helpless child and curses under his breath.

A snarling mother looks on from a nearby bench. She begins to yell at the man, but he is too wrapped up in his own mind to even care what she has to say.

From this distance I can not make out any of the words. I sense the anger by the look on her face.

I want to intervene as he runs by me, glaring at me from the corner of his eye. I want to tell him that he can't do as he pleases.

Words escape me.

Instead I watch helplessly as the man tramples on the tree, snapping it near the base.

It is motionless, no longer swaying in the breeze. He did not even glance to see what he had stepped on.

The man is now around the corner of the building. On his way to snuff out another life, I assume.

Inside my head I can no longer hear the chatter of the tree telling me about his heritage. Emotion swells up in my eyes as I look at the tree trying to determine if it will be able to continue to grow. Maybe the tree will grow up with some character, a good place for children to play and build a fort.

My hopes are quickly dashed as a heavy gust picks up blowing a newspaper around. The thick and heavy paper gets tangled in the small branches of the tree. When the paper passes over top of the crippled tree only the stump is still there.

As the wind dies down I can see the trunk of the tree sticking out from underneath the sports section just a few feet in front of me.

From across the park I hear the muted laughter of the child playing with their toys. The sadness is lifted from me, the world is moving on.

A bird lands near the paper, foraging for some materials to fortify its nest. The instinct to protect its young is strong. Seeing the remains of the young tree the bird quickly hops over to it and carries it off into the sky.

As I stand I can feel the ache of pain in my knee from the impending rain. I turn to look back on the park and the happiness it brings.

I make a note to myself to return tomorrow with another tree to put in its place.