What I Did on my Blogging Vacation

I didn’t actually have a vacation, but I had a bit of an unplanned break from blogging. Work and all that real-life stuff tends to intrude from time to time.  Here are some of the highlights:

dlink_dgs-1008dReplaced a switch. This particular specimen, the D-Link DGS-1008D, is one sad excuse for a home office gigabit Ethernet 8-port switch.  It doesn’t have a bracket for vertical mounting, so it has to sit flush on the desk.  If you have all 8 ports in constant operation, 24/7, this means the switch tends to overheat regularly.  When it overheats it resets, dropping all eight network connections.  If I were still a member of a rifle club I would have taken this thing to the range to be disposed of like the traitor to networking technology that it is.  The paradox of small office / home office 8-port gig switches is that in a busy, 24/7 environment where all 8 ports are occupied and constantly transmitting, you need a fan-cooled unit to avoid overheating.  But fan-cooled units are typically noisy and thus unpleasant to have in a quiet home office when you’re trying to get some work done.  You just can’t win.  Of course the new owner (Dax) tells me that the D-Link hasn’t reset once…

Replaced a router. In preparation for the arrival of the AppleTV, the old wireless-G router was upgraded to a wireless-N unit with good range.

blackberry_pearl Replaced the Treo 650 with a BlackBerry 8100. Mostly due to the demands of my job.  I like the 650 a lot and I still think it’s a terrific smartphone; it offers a lot of flexibility that BlackBerries just don’t have.  The one thing it can’t do is connect to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server using AES encryption; the 650’s BlackBerry Connect client only uses 3DES encryption and that’s not good enough for the Firm.  It’s also a good test-bed for all the various applications and BES policies that we use.

  • Most-missed Treo 650 feature: E-books.  I have a wad of 300 free Palm e-books (all good classics of Western civilization) and I am sad to say that I only got around to reading fifteen or twenty of them.
  • Least-missed Treo 650 feature: Damn resets caused by the Treo’s inability to keep its own DBcache relatively clean.

UPDATE: Oh yeah, there was this little BlackBerry-related incident too.  Hilarious little factoid:  I got notified of this outage Tuesday night at 2200 by our RIM support account manager via an e-mail sent to my… BlackBerry.  The outage apparently started at about 2030 Eastern.  I passed the word on to the boss, his boss, various other IT teams that carry on-call BB devices, and posted a notice to the Firm’s intranet.  The national helpdesk did the bright thing and included a notification of the outage in their call-routing system, so everyone on the business side knew about it the instant they called to find out what was going on.  Net result was zero frantic accountant calls to the Firm’s IT staff.   What do you know, communication works.

appletv Acquired and hacked the crap out of an AppleTV. Had some Best Buy gift cards to burn, so I thought I would bring the household into the age of net-downloadable TV and get an AppleTV.  Enlisted friend Dax (whose OSX-fu is good) to replace the ATV’s stock 40GB internal drive with a 120GB drive, enable SSH and install XviD, DivX and AC3 codecs.  Voila, set-top unit that can play just about any old movie downloaded off the net — not that I recommend doing so, of course.  Not to mention photos, music, podcasts, etc — and once SSH is enabled, you no longer require iTunes installed on your PC to transfer stuff to it.  Nice thing about the ATV is that it runs the same basic OS as the Intel Macs, so for 300 bucks you can hack your way into a box roughly equivalent to a Mac mini (CDN $679 retail).

If you’re willing to live with the puny 40GB drive, you could even hack it without opening the case (thus keeping your warranty intact).  Nice.

Last but not least, I watched a lot of baseball. Back in February I found out that The Firm offers a substantial discount on Jays tickets, and ordered a wad of them (for the first time since 1993).  Attended the April 12th and 15th games versus Detroit, and the 18th versus Boston.  I like to sit near 1st base since that is where most of the action tends to take place, plus you can see into the Jays dugout.  Never really understood why people like to sit near 3rd base (above the home team’s dugout) since you’re staring at the opposition all game.

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My wife took a load of pics from the 15th  — also Jackie Robinson Day, which is why lots of guys are wearing the old-school socks-over-pants and Jackie’s number 42.  Apparently the entire LA Dodgers lineup wore 42 in honour of their former teammate.  Classy, and nice to see MLB in touch with its history.

Interestingly, the game on the 18th featured a lot of Japanese content — probably a nod to Daisuke “Dice-K” Matsuzaka, who had pitched the day before.  The Japanese Ambassador to Canada and a Japanese-Canadian member of our Olympic team were on hand to toss out the first pitch.  And there were taiko drummers on hand before and during the game.  Taiko would probably make a good addition to every game; just imagine how differently your day at work would go if you rolled into the office with ten guys drumming away like mad.  Less antediluvian ballpark organs, more guys whaling away on drums.

Category: Diversions, Miscellania, Web/Tech  Tags:
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2 Responses
  1. Alan says:

    Nice seats. I have only been at the SkyRogersDomeCentre twice and both were behind home about 15 rows up. Way worse than I would have thought. I have my own personal taiko drumming inside my head by only when in a court hearing or when walking away from work at the end of a Friday.

  2. Chris Taylor says:

    I sat behind home plate way back in ’91 for one of the ALCS games. The upside is that I got some TV time since me and a buddy were fully kitted out in Jays uniforms and blue/white facepaint. The downside is that the patron-protection netting is damn distracting. I can’t deal with the netting. Give me 1st or 3rd base net-free sightlines any day.