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December 18th, 2008

12:29 pm - See Kim Shiver
A team from The Zoo is doing the Polar Bear Plunge on January 24th, 2009. Kim got suckered into eagerly agreed to participate.

Since this benefits the Special Olympics of Maryland, this is a donation activity. If you'd like to donate, her donation page is here. Any amount helps! Even if you don't want to donate, come out and watch the crazy people brave plungers do their thing!

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December 11th, 2008

12:22 pm - DenyHosts
If you run a host that has to expose ssh to a hostile network (like, say, the internet) then you should be running DenyHosts. It'll at least try to keep some of the anklebiters at bay. Might as well put all those bad login attempt records you're seeing in your logs to good use.
Current Location: Da Home Orifice
Current Mood: meh
Current Music: Blue Bossa - Bobby McFerrin & Chick Corea

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November 30th, 2008

08:31 pm - Simpsons Did It
OK, The Simpson's referencing the 1984 Apple ad and skewering Apple and Steve Jobs was brilliant.
Current Location: Basement!
Current Music: The Simpsons

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October 22nd, 2008

09:16 am - Last weekend
Last weekend was supposed to be the DUI Dog Days at Lake Rawlings -- get to try out drysuit diving without making a major investment.

We got up real early on Saturday, straightened up the house and headed out by around 7AM for the 4 hour drive. Got to the lake, but Kim wasn't feeling 100% so we decided to see if we could check into the hotel in Emporia (about a half hour away) and rest up and try again on Sunday.

Checked into the room, pulled around to park outside the door, and... the car wouldn't shut off. Key wouldn't move out of the ignition. (This was in Kim's 2006 Saturn Ion). Figured "what the hell" and tried OnStar. They were nice, but about the best they could do was call Roadside assistance. Roadside was nice, but clueless. They said they couldn't tow a vehicle that was running. Why would we want to tow a running vehicle in the first place?

In the end, we decided to cut our looses and not risk getting stuck so we turned around and headed back home. Annoyingly, we still ended up paying for the room since we had already checked in. So, no Dog Days for us this year. Try again in the spring when they (hopefully) come back to Dutch Springs.
Current Location: The Dungeon, er, home office

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October 9th, 2008

01:02 pm - Homework
Just had the biennial chimney sweep done. Everything looked great. They didn't even need to actually sweep the chimney - just clean out the stove and the indoor section of the flue.

Hopefully good for another 2 years...
Current Location: Home Office
Current Mood: fullfull
Current Music: Pandora

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September 23rd, 2008

07:33 pm - More household WTF's
Yet another household mystery.... We've been painting the basement recently, and are just about done. On either side of the woodstove there have always been two electrical boxes mounted up-high, apparently for some kind of accent lighting. Yes, there's obviously AC wiring in there -- feed into one tied to the other. Reasonably sure that this is not some sort of funky speaker wiring, since it would be a really odd location, and there's no obvious termination point.

That's the problem... I can't figure out where they go. I've checked for voltage with all the existing switches and dimmers on - nothing, so the wiring is not currently (har har) live. The I pulled the switches out of the three boxes that feed that side of the room. For reference, this one room has, on one wall (either side of a door) 11 different light switches or dimmers. A couple are duplicated elsewhere (3-way) and there's another light in the AV closet as well, and one of these is the ceiling fan (bi-wired for separate light/fan control - yay).

Next is pulling the rest of the switches out on the other side of the door to see if they terminate there. there's also some circuits that terminate in the breaker-box still that aren't connected either, but those are 14/3, possibly 12/3 (two hot, one neutral, 1 ground) cable, and the sconce-like boxes only have 14/2 in them.

And annoyingly, this is in the part of the room that doesn't have the drop ceiling, so tracing the wiring will not be as simple...
Current Location: Home Office
Current Mood: perplexed

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September 17th, 2008

02:28 pm - Pimpin' the home office
Put some more finishing touches on the home office today. Finally got stuff hung on the walls - namely, a cork board so I can get some of the random pieces of important paper off the horizontal surfaces, some Art (the "Roots of Rock and Roll" poster that I've had forever), and finally a spare old 17" flat panel.

The panel is old enough that it's probably 3x as thick as a "modern" flat panel monitor. The 1.5"+ wide bezel too tends to date it. But, using an old laptop to drive it and it looks pretty good. I've got the Slingbox up on it now and it's perfect for background noise. I did just realize though that I could be using a DVI cable to drive it instead of VGA -- and leave the VGA cable free to use for temporary stuff. Gotta dig up another cable now :)

And with VNC, I can control the laptop from...the other laptop... so now I need to figure out a good way to make the laptop take up less space on the counter.
Current Location: Home Office
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: F1 on SPEED

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August 15th, 2008

05:09 pm - Car update
After over a year of it sitting, I finally got the motor from the Corvette into the machine shop. There's a good change it'll be ready by the time we're back from vacation, which is good and bad I guess... Still, progress is good.
Current Location: Da Home Office
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Radio Paradise - DJ-mixed modern & classic rock, world, electronica & more - info:

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August 9th, 2008

04:16 pm - Macbook Pro Keyboard/Trackpad
So on Thursday, I sit down at the SANS conference and fire up my laptop. (A Macbook Pro, bought around January 2007) The Keyboard and trackpad don't respond. Try the USB mouse I had, and it worked fine so the OS was still happy...

Got it home, and it works fine still with a USB Keyboard and Mouse, which is how I've been using it most of the time lately. On the way home, I had stopped at the Apple Store in Bethesda and the Genius Bar said it would be a $330 flat fee repair since it's out of warranty. Yay...

So I was rebuilding my work XM Virtual Machine under VMWare, and noticed that it was givving me the option to connect the USB device "Internal Apple Trackpad Programmer" to the running image. Hmmm...

Googled that, and found someone with the exact same problem at the Apple support forums. Sure enough, the firmware tool was in the Utilities folder, and running it fixed the problem. I too saw the "tries to update the firmware multiple times" thing last week. I figured when it stopped it must've worked. Nope. That's when it failed... Thankfully I figured this out before spending $330 (of The Company's money) on a repair that Apple themselves caused. And, it didn't even require a reboot :p
Current Location: Home office
Current Mood: happyhappy

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July 25th, 2008

02:00 pm - Housekeeping
Upgraded XJournal -- guess the version I had didn't like Leopard. Now when I accidentally click on it instead of Adium or Pandora it'll just stay there instead of crashing :p
Current Location: 20850
Current Mood: frazzled

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