Archive for March, 2007
I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the potential rig at my place tomorrow prior to LB’s b-day blast at an-tua-nua. There’s no need to bring anything, unless you need/want some sort of unusual beer or liquor, as my fridge and bar are both currently well-stocked. I figure we’ll order pizzas or something (I currently have a free-delivery coupon from the Pizzeria Uno down the street ). Unless someone brings a few gallons of frozen beef stew or something.
I think that mrhe first introduced me to the concept of Library Thing in an entry in his blog back a while ago. I finally got around to checking it out last week and ended up staying up late and spending a few hours putting in my entire library. Now anyone can see what books are on my shelves. When I was done, I realized that I really don’t have as many books as I thought. I like books. We’ve got several bookshelves filled with them, but really there are only about 130 total. I also realized that it’s a bit of an eclectic collection. I added a little “widget” to the sidebar of this blog that displays a random handful of books out of my library. Cool stuff.
Firstly, I apologize to all blog readers for the outage this morning and early-afternoon. There was an IP address/DNS snafu that I need not go into.
My photo album page has finally been updated to include just about all recent (and many not-so-recent) photo collections that I have. Of course, this also now includes the photos taken with my camera (by me and other people) at our gathering at LB’s place in “Tha Quinzz” for St. Patty’s Day 2007. Please be patient, my upstream bandwidth is particularly slow of late, and these pictures are somewhat large (maybe I’ll fix that).
Only 15 days left until the start of the season. Apparently they were either testing the scoreboard today, or there was some sort of media event, because this is what I spied when looking out my living room window:
I’ll let those images speak for themselves…
It seems that I’m out of interesting things to write about for now, so let’s all stop and take a moment to remember 2000; specifically March 10th 2000. You see, that’s the date that is numerically recognized as the burst of the Dot Com bubble. Seven years ago this past weekend, the Nasdaq peaked at 5,132.52. Yahoo closed at 89 points. Akamai closed at 296. Even Sun Microsystems got in on the action, and closed at 47 points. Less than a month later, the news was as such on April 4th at 1:42pm eastern time on CNN:
PATRICIA SABGA, CNN ANCHOR: Our market coverage continues on CNNfn. We would also like to welcome our CNN viewers. Right now, the Nasdaq composite is off 332 at 3890. That is, however, well off the lows of the session. The Nasdaq composite had lost as much as 13 percent so far today.
BILL TUCKER, CNN ANCHOR: In fact, it is now well into bear territory, completely more than 20 percent off its highs, those highs just hit back in early March, on March 10th at 5048. The Dow also selling off very strongly today, had been down over 500 point, we have seen a big comeback in the Dow 30 stocks.
It’s actually kind of entertaining to read this old transcript. The market correspondent then comes on and says stuff like: “…However, the bottom, he sees it, as in sight. Now the level he had picked as a bottom for this market was around 3500; 3590 would represent a 62 percent retracement of the market’s movement upward since early October….” Of course, a year later, in April of 2001, the market was closing at 1638. How’s that for a “retracement?”
So yes, there it was. 7 years ago: the Nasdaq peaked at 5,132.52. Yahoo closed at 89 points. Akamai closed at 296. Even Sun Microsystems got in on the action, and closed at 47 points. Today, the Nasdaq is at 2378, Yahoo is struggling to maintain 30, Akamai’s hanging out respectably in the low 50s, and beleaguered Sun Microsystems is at 6.22.
- ^ – Uburger: This place is “da bomb.” Best frappes I’ve had in a while, and probably the best frappe within close walking distance of my apartment (it’s right there in not-so-lovely Kenmore Square). I’ve taken a recent liking to the “boom burger.” It’s the regularly-delicious ground-fresh-on-site beef patty, with fresh tomato and lettuce as well as fried jalapeno rings and a spicy chipotle sauce. I get it without the cheese of course. The fries are damn good too. Also, for those not in the area, a “frappe” is a milkshake. Well, sort of. Specifically it’s one actually made with ice cream. I shall try a chicken sandwich on my next visit.
- ^ – El Pelon: This place is, thankfully, also right down the street from my apartment. I’ve become a bit of a burrito-eater lately. During my time in Champaign, I frequented Qdoba, as well a fine assortment of authentic mexican establishments. I’ve also enjoyed Chipotle, and the other usual Boston establishments. While working at MIT, I had Anna’s Taqueria at least twice every week. I think I’m coming to the conclusion so far that El Pelon is the best of the bunch. Maybe I’ll refine this as I broaden my horizons, but so far they are second to none. Chipotle’s pretty darn good too, though — and their whole sustainable-agriculture/environmentalist/natural hippie tack seems appealing and authentic.
- V – Harpoon St. Patrick’s Festival: Whoa, crazy crowded — even more than the Poonfest from last fall. It was quite cold too, and since I neglected to get a “Friend of Harpoon” card, we gave up after waiting in a slow-moving line for a long long time. As a consolation prize, we went to the abovementioned uburger for dinner though.
- = – Evacuation Day: Any plans for the holiday this Saturday? Corned-beef, cabbage, and Irish soda bread anyone?
- ^ – The phrase “Git ‘R Done”: I think I need to start working this into everyday conversation some more.
- V – Daylight Savings Time: WTF? No, the world didn’t end, but losing an hour sucks. Also, patching all of our servers wasn’t so much fun. Luckily there were no major incidents. I wonder how the folks over at MIT fared with their Solaris 2.6 servers and critical boxes running OpenVMS and Tru64 operating systems that are off maintenance and probably have no patches even available. I have an old server that I help folks out with in Champaign that still runs Solaris 7, so no patch available for them either. So far, it doesn’t seem to be causing any problems though that the box isn’t in the right time-zone anymore. Whatever, the worst-case scenario is that some stuff might be off for an hour for a couple weeks.
Abandon hope all netids beginning with m,u,v,x and y
Recent troubles concerning a mail server at MIT reminded me that I should get around to documenting one of my favorite tales of woe. It happened back in February 2002 while I was working at what was then CCSO, in what was then PSG. I had only been working at UIUC for 6 months or so at that point, and had only been administering the campus student/staff cluster “dataservers” for less than that.
I must warn. This is a long entry, and is probably uninteresting to most out there. However, I put it here for my own documentation (this is the story I tell at job interviews when asked about an arduous “troubleshooting experience”) and for the possible enjoyment of a small population of my peers.
Some things with which to busy yourself today if you’re looking for a diversion:
- RoHS Directives: This topic came up last night in conversation (yes, you know you’re in a strange crowd when electronics environmental regulatory regulations come up in conversation). As an IT professional, I’ve had some experience with the “RoHS” labeling, but had no idea about the details of the specification. Check it out, there are some interesting things there. Particularly the bits about lead-free solder and potential long-term impacts on equipment durability and quality. Is this just the price we have to pay for the future of our environment? I don’t know, but it’s food for thought. Irregardless, I don’t think anyone will argue against restrictions of hexavalent chromium or polybrominated biphenyls in our electronic equipment, and thus in our landfills and in our drinking water.
- Paul Levy’s Blog: Not only is Paul Levy the president and CEO of my wife’s employer, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, he was also a professor of mine at MIT. The actual name of the class escapes me at the moment, but it was an Urban Studies class (course 11, which I eventually got a minor in) involving infrastructure management and planning. We took all sorts of neat field trips to the Deer Island treatment plant and the under-construction new water aqueduct into boston, and we got to check out a jet-cleaning and robotic examination of a 100-year-old hand-built sewer main underneath Cambridge. As the executive director of the MWRA, which was in charge of the so-far-successful Boston Harbor cleanup project, he had a whole lot of interesting stories. From there he went on to be a dean at Harvard Medical School, and then was hired on at Beth Israel. I guess everybody’s got a blog these days, eh? His is kind of interesting (although maybe I’m just saying that because I work in a hospital?), and he’s got a good sense of humor. His entry on a recent paper-towel-dispenser-change debacle is a real gem. We actually have the same dispensers in our hospital’s main corridor, and they pretty much suck. Kristy concurs.
- xkcd: A webcomic of romance,
sarcasm, math, and language. Go on, read through the comics, all of them. I promise you’ll like it.
This week just seems to be going soooooo slooooowwwwwwwly. I think I know what the problem is. We had such a good time at the Cantab Lounge on Tuesday night — good bluegrass, good company, friendly bartender, no further damage to the car — that this almost seems like two weeks in one. Taking a break in the middle of the week for a good time that’s usually reserved for the weekend just throws everything off. Does that make any sense?
So, anything going on this weekend? Also, it was time for some housekeeping, so I updated some stuff in the right column over there. Added a couple of site links, fixed some redirected links, and welcomed a few new and not-so-new folks to the blog-roll (cheers to anne, lb, rooroo, mchesnut and paul levy).
And now for a public service announcement. Check out this article in the Globe today. Outbreak of intestinal illness lingers in city. Norovirus isn’t a very pleasant experience. Apparently, local Boston hospitals, schools, colleges, etc. are just getting over a fairly major outbreak.
“Boston continues to be mired in an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness, with the latest figures from a disease-tracking system showing that emergency room visits reached peak levels in February…”
So, wash your hands. Thank you for your attention.