Diary of a dumbass

For the family IT-goto-guy I certainly performed quite the err to bring my silicon savant status down to elderly home patron levels. Every once and a while I do something stupid but this one takes the cake and almost gave me a stroke and definitely is going to hurt the budget when I already have no money due to the new house furnishing kick Monika and I are on.

I was performing some cleaning on my main desktop PC and thought “Hey, I havent done a BIOS flash in like…eons.” It was a Monday night before bed so I am already tired but a BIOS flash doesn’t take that much time, right? Well, 20 minutes later my ASUS M2N Plus SLI Vista ed motherboard is as good as a brick.

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Gaming marathons for charity

I saw an article on slashdot yesterday about a group of guys (half are Canadian…awesome) who are playing a Final Fantasy marathon over a week for the autism charity ACT Today. The group from http://www.thespeedgamers.com/ is rotating players and randomly playing all Final Fantasy games up to 12 (excluding the XI MMO I believe). The 3 live streams lets viewers watch the game feed, the “couch” where the gamer is seated along with the others gamers stretching for their game, and the color commentary via a laptop webcam. The commentator reads the live chat and banters back while telling funny gaming stories and making bets with the charity contributers such as:

  • for every $5 donated during a set period of time, one of the waiting gamers will complete a barrel roll. They got up to 113 rolls, the first half being quite impressive while the later half of them was a sleep depraved gamer laying on the floor barely moving.
  • a single $100 donation dare had one gamer drink…ahem…a mana potion, mixed with a health potion, mixed with a spoonful of 2 day old vegemite, and a menthol cough drop.  The gamer actually vomited BEFORE drinking it due to the foul smell and having been awake for 40 hours. Funny stuff.

At this moment, they are at $33 000 which blew away their previous goal of $20 000. They have reset the bar to $50 000 and will probably clear that before the deadline of July 24th. They are getting a lot of news coverage and I encourage people to go check out the site and watch for abit. Drop some money on a great charity too if you feel inclined!

Social networking

I have been hooked up to the social networks of the interwebs! I can not stress the importance of social networking sites not only for personal use but for business use as well. It is by far the cheapest and easiest route for an organization to get their information to their customers. The viral effect at work in its purist form.

http://www.facebook.com/tpinet

https://tpinet.wordpress.com

http://twitter.com/timpinet (damn the man that took tpinet)

Now to socialize….someone….anyone?

Birthday

Well…I reached the ripe age of 27 last weekend on May 23rd. It was probably the best birthday I have had. My lovely wife bought me a fantastic Toshiba laptop from BestBuy (that I helped her pick out 🙂 ) and got me GTA4 for PC AND a big bottle of Baileys to boot. Yes she went overboard…I love her for it.

Family and friends met up to eat at Scores and then head over to Kanata AMC 24 to check out the new Terminator Salvation movie. Ummm….it wasnt the best action movie of the summer that is for sure. For a war between humans and machines it certainly didnt feel like much of a war. I pictured in myhead  thousands of humans duking it out with futuristic weapons against thousands of machines. I think that I saw maybe 15-20 machines in the whole movie. The only saving grace was Arnie’s image (albeit CGI’d from Terminator 1) beating on Bale for a whole minute and a half. This movie is 2/5 stars in my opinion.

Fresh slim Windows XP install on the Dell Mini 9 speeds things up

After running out of room on my Dell Mini 9 (that has a tiny 8GB SSD) I figured that something had to be done to make it my great little netbook again. Before anyone comments, yes I have the drive compressed, yes the pagefile and hibernation are turned off, yes I delete temporary internet files on exit from my browser. I have tried everything to maximize the space available but to no avail. And so I started to investigate some solutions to my problem:

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Codeswarm visual for software projects

I was installing SVN on my work PC when I noticed that CollabNet had a video of their SVN submission history. The video demonstrated a moving timeline with a developer’s name surrounded by the files they commit in a sort of firework display. The project called code_swarm (http://code.google.com/p/codeswarm/) is a Java project that parses out source control server history and creates these displays in a processed window. After trying the program out I thought that it would be a fantastic tool to encourage developers to commit small and commit often to “see their name in lights”. As an Agile Programming lover, the concept of continuous integration immediately came to mind and I know that this is a hard concept to get developers to buy into.

I was so impressed with this project that I decided to join it to contribute any way that I can. Everyone should take a look at the Subversion, Apache, and Eclipse codeswarm videos….really nifty.

First week at the new job is done

I have surived my first week at my new position at the City of Ottawa. My new position is an Intermediate Developer and Integrator for a third party app (Active Network’s CLASS application). I will be receiving support calls from City clients to maintain the system which may involve on-site fixes which is different and nice from my old job.

This week was like any week at a new job….reading! I have 6 textbooks on Oracle, 3 on Business Object’s Crystal Reports 10, and endless online reading for CLASS. My eyes were bleeding by 4:00pm Friday afternoon.

Otherwise all the people seem cool. I have a nice cadillac ergo chair with 5000 settings and a brand new PC which I am also glad about.

Last night Andy received his Canadian Engineering Iron Ring at the secret ceremony at Ottawa University. Now there are 3 ‘geers in the family (dad, me, and Andy). ERTW!

Serious R&R

With my week off I decided to catch up on some neglected gaming. First, I got my Valve fix with some Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead (very addictive). Today I went out and bought two Wii Wheels from Futureshop so that Monika and I could get our Mario Kart Wii on. I dont know what it is, but those stupid $10 wheels make the game much more enjoyable.

To keep myself from going game crazy I try to do some things that are productive. I am prepping my computer for a format/reinstall of Vista. I havent done that in about a year and a half which is crazy long for someone like me that enjoys having a fresh install every 6 months. My dad always says that I format as often as I change my shorts 🙂 I guess that probably isnt too flattering…but the metaphor stands.

Also on my list of things to do is to apply to PEO. I have put this off way too long and now it is time (to start acting professionally?).

I am also wondering if there are any good movies to watch before I have to go back to the grind next week? Suggestions?

The aftermath

It was tough to say goodbye to all of my coworkers yesterday. I was there for such a short time but our team was close. Hopefully I will be working with them in the future at some other job where we are not all fearing being laid off at any time. Ottawa is a small city. Monika took me to a private “farewell” lunch even though I am not saying farewell to her 🙂

On a brighter note, my little brother turns 25 today. It is a big year for him: getting married, new house in a couple months (like me), and graduating from university. I’m sure that he will sleep for the entire of Q4 this year from all of the excitement.