I've been thinking about buying a laptop for a while now - my current laptop is a 15 inch Dell that is 9 years old and the video card doesn't stay seated properly inside, so I have to "twist" the keyboard section to pop it back in place and get rid of the wavy lines on the screen. It's also extremely thick and heavy compared to the laptops that are out these days.

My desktop is about 4 years old, and while it's still fine in terms of performance, it's always had an overheating problem that I can't quite figure out. I have a 20 inch LCD monitor, and while that's perfect for surfing the web, anytime I try to do work at home, I immediately wish for a second monitor.

A friend managed to get a really good deal on a new HP laptop in January, but by the time I got to the store, they were out and since then, I've been looking, but haven't found the specs I want at the same price.

Today I got an email about a sale - a laptop with the processor I want, which seems to be harder to find, and the rest of the specs that I want, after free upgrades and 450$ off in coupons is $849. This is the best price I've seen yet with these specs - my friend's was $749 but he didn't get blue ray or a dedicated video card, and he got a 15inch whereas this is a 16 inch. The closest equivalent at BestBuy is $1099, without blueray but with a slightly faster processor in the model I want, and a bigger hard drive.

So I finally did it - I placed the order and my computer will be built by April 13th and should be in my happy hands 5-7 days later.

Now I wait!

HP HDX16t Premium Series customizable Notebook PC NK606AV
– Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
– Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo Processor P7450 (2.13GHz)
– FREE Upgrade to 4GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm) from 2GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
– FREE Upgrade to 320GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
– 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT
– 16.0" diagonal High Definition HP BrightView Infinity Display (1366x768)
– FREE Upgrade to Blu-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW Double Layer
– Webcam + Fingerprint Reader with HP Imprint Finish (Fluid)
– Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-card
– No TV Tuner w/remote control
– HP Color Matching Keyboard
– 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
– No Productivity Software
– HP Home & Home Office Store in-box envelope
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Craziness galore!

technical gobbledygook )

in minion-related news... )

pointy haired boss...no wait, he's bald... )


So, fly to San Diego Sunday evening. Training Monday. Dinner with the two guys who are onsite there, with possibly Much Drinking. Training Tuesday, then flying home late Tuesday night. Back in the office Wednesday and Thursday part of the day. Fly to Vancouver Thursday night. Take the public bus to some random art gallery in downtown Vancouver late Thursday night/early Friday morning, to meet my brother, who is having an art show that night. Wait till art show ends at 2am, and then brother will drive me home to my mom's house. Spend next week ignoring email and phone calls because Dammit I want a Vacation. Marred only by 2 chemo treatments for mom, but whatever.

When I get back in July, I'll probably have to decide what to do about Minion number 2...not looking forward to that at all.

Can it be vacation time now plz?
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hooray! switched out the mail server tonight.

next up - new front-end apache for the development/test web applications - this server is nearly done and I just need to install some more perl modules and figure out what cronjobs need to be added...
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progress!

Jan. 5th, 2008 11:54 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
Interesting discussion the other day with a colleague -

He has been upgrading all of our hosted customer instances (~1500 customer sites all told) and sent me a spreadsheet for the next 25 so that I would be aware of his timeline and what my part was (minimal!).

I made a comment to the effect that he's *much* more organized and better at this stuff than I am - which is true - I'm more likely to jot a few notes down on an extremely complex upgrade, but these are fairly straightfoward, other than the fact that they're making a pretty big leap from 4.2 to 5.2 version of code.

But, he's doing it *right* - he makes a checklist of the steps needed, he validates that each step is done and generated no errors, and verifies the application afterwards.

When it comes to that kind of stuff, I have ADD, and get bored very easily - leading to possibility of forgetting stuff or tripping over errors later on.

He said something like "well, I like working to my strengths and leaving the hard stuff to you" :)

Given that the "hard stuff" that I was working on was kicking my butt...I didn't think that was quite fair.

It's true though - my strength is in figuring out how to do something for the first time. Once I've done it, I don't particularly want to do it again, over and over again. In that sense, I'm not a good Network Administrator - I don't particularly like building servers and installing all the apps needed. Nor am I a very good DBA - I don't really like installing and configuring Oracle and setting up and monitoring databases and backups.

The latest project is building a new mail server. The last one, my brother actually built, probably about 5 years ago now. It's running on 7-8 year old machine, with a Pentium 3 chip, 256 megs of RAM and two 8 gig SCSI drives.

Starting with a new box - and a new release of CentOS (that changed *everything* about their installation, mind you ) I have now installed exim, dovecot, spamassassin, clamav, rulesdujour, aeromail and all of the supporting bits and bobs (gobs of perl, apache, openssl, php, and a whole pile of random things that *those* pieces needed)

The new server is spiffy - it has mirrored drives, so I can finally let people leave mail on the server for a while if they want, without panicking that the whole thing will simply *die* on me - it has a (very simple) web mail interface for users who are onsite at customer installations and can't get to our mail server, but can borrow a browser for a few minutes - it runs imaps, smtps and pop3s (new!fancy!) and I can turn spamassassin back on (the old server simply didn't have enough resources to handle the load).

Planning the cutover Monday night, assuming final testing goes well tomorrow.

Hooray for learning new things
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it's beginning to be a habit that I only have time to post on weekends...

Last week was Training Week. We brought in all the offsite folks so we had a ton of people in the office - plus 2 people from the UK, who are starting up as partners/resellers for Europe, and Tachi-san from Japan. Not everyone was present all week, though just about everyone did make it to the Christmas party Thursday night (except one person who was on vacation last week in Mexico, so we won't feel sorry for him).

Training was all right - mostly it was just good to have everyone together, and talk about the direction of the company and the product, and get feedback from the people "in the field" on the things that are causing them the most pain.

Company Christmas Party )

So now I'm realizing that I suddenly have 4 bits of hardware in my house that would like to use a wireless Internet connection, and I am not able to use ours, because nobody knows the password (my roommate brought it with from her last place, and the password is saved on her laptop). We're afraid to hit the hard reset button, because this wireless router is from Spain, and has been heavily modified twice - if we reset it back to factory defaults, we have no idea what it would roll back to.

She's going to see if the guy who did the last set of modifications, remembers anything. Else, I'll probably have to buy a new one.

December has been a tech toy month - I have my wii, the itouch and also my new ultra-mobile laptop thing - the Asus EEE which is a 2lb, tiny laptop that is about the size of a DVD case.

Don't want to go back to work though.
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Saturday was fun - we went to Stamp Camp! It's basically just a stampin' up get together, hosted by our demonstrator, and 2 other demonstrators, where we do 3 "bigger" projects - so we stamped snowflakes onto square glass jars to make gifts. We also stamped onto candles - very cool, and likely to be my Christmas gifts this year for co-workers and such. And we made little gift baskets for holding gift certificate cards. Plus, I won the best raffle prize - a set of Christmas stamps - the other prizes were just paper and such.

Today I'm going to go find a couple dollar stores I've been told about, and hopefully a new Big Lots, in order to poke around (I love dollar stores) and hopefully find more cheap crafting supplies. I need to figure out what to get to hold my craft stuff - currently it's in shopping bags under my bed. Not very organized.

Then it's back to the Raid-scented kitchen (another invasion of ants this morning) and I need to cook some food for this week - the last 2 weeks of eating out every day were very very bad and thankfully over. I need to be back on a sane eating plan.

My monitor is still awfully cool :) The hostess' husband is a gamer and he was drooling over the specs. So was the female geek I went with. It was all good. My friend who isn't into computers just nodded and smiled and was happy that I was happy. It was all good :)
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My new monitor came today! While I've been lusting after it for a few months now, me being the cheapass that I am, I couldn't justify plonking down $649 plus taxes for a monitor - especially since it's an LCD panel and I'd heard horror stories about dead pixels etc etc ad nauseam.

Also, I had planned to go on a short vacation in October - that never happened - just ran out of time. November, again, no time. Plus I wasn't really keen on travelling very far, and didn't really have any destination - just basically wanted to get away from work for a few days.

So last weekend I decided to give up on going away for any vacation before Xmas, and take the money that I had mentally "spent" on travel and hotel room and buy the monitor I wanted. Bonus - the price at Amazon was $100 cheaper than anywhere else, and they had a 20$ coupon code for that weekend, plus no sales tax. So the $649 + tax monitor came to $560 total from Amazon.

It came today - and it's awfully nice. Currently I'm playing with it rotated 90 degrees in "portrait" mode, just for fun. It's a Samsung 204t 20.1 inch LCD, because that was the one I fell in love with - and 20 inches seems to be the minimum for 1600X1200 resolution - which I really wanted.

happy dance!
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