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Monthly Archives: August 2012

What I Do

Published August 30, 2012 - 2 Comments

Have you ever wondered just what it is that I do?  Yeah… me too.  It’s funny sometimes, when people say “what do you do?” and I really have no idea how to explain it to them.  So I asked my co-worker what he tells people…

“I tell people that I build network circuits for business customers”

While that’s true, it’s probably hard for people to visualize.  So I went looking online for the simplest representation of what it is that I do.  Believe it or not, this diagram is waaaay simpler than a lot of them…

There are a multitude of different ways to pass network traffic between computers.  Most people using a computer really don’t care how or why it works… only that it DOES work… and that it gets resolved quickly in the event that it does not.  But as much as we’d love to believe that magical data fairies carry the information from one computer to another on their backs… sadly, that is not the case.

Computer networks are gigantic beasts comprised of a mesh of new and old technologies, and the hardware and software that drives them.  Thankfully there are people way smarter than I am who truly understand the nuts and bolts of this stuff, and can lay out tasks for the rest of us in a simple-ish manner to follow.  So I don’t have to build the path from one customer location to the next… I only have to interpret what is given to me, and build PART of that path from Point A to Point B.  And assuming that everyone along the path has done their part properly… the customer can happily play network Hearts with a buddy at the office across the street… or across the globe.

I know that probably doesn’t really answer the question of what it is that I do… I’m still learning that as I go along… but it’s a lot more than what I was doing at the previous job… with better hours… tons more responsibility… and yes.. less money (go figure that one out).

In fact, now when I make a mistake (and there have been more than a few) people notice!  Try typing ROUTE and listen to the snickers of the engineer who told you to type ROOT…  (that won’t make any sense to you unless you have some sort of UNIX background) …. or spending 15 mins remotely installing a configuration on a new router… only to forget to save your work before rebooting the router and having it come back up with nothing on it…

Yup!  That’s what I do.  🙂

Twitter Bullies 3rd Party Developers with new API Changes

Published August 28, 2012 - 3 Comments

After installing a fresh copy of Mountain Lion, I sat down to re-download my favourite Twitter client for Mac OSX, and found it suddenly absent from the developer’s website.  Huh?

I’ve been using Tweetbot by Tapbots on my iPad for about a year now, and find it to be the best Twitter client available for that platform.  Because of that, I was pretty stoked to hear that they were developing a client for OSX.  Ever since Twitter bought Tweetdeck and completely drove it into the ground, I’ve been without a favourite Twitter client.  Sure, the official Twitter client does the trick… but Tweetdeck was head and shoulders above that… Until they sold out.

But Tweetbot… Tweetbot was to be what many of us felt was sorely needed… a powerful Twitter client capable of much much more than simply displaying our random thoughts in 140 characters or less.  If you’ve had a chance to use the public Alpha, you’d probably agree that it’s moving in that direction.  And if you haven’t had a chance to download that public Alpha yet… too late.

So why did Tapbots pull the download link from their website?  You can read their full explanation here.  But the short of it is that Twitter changed the rules regarding 3rd party developers using the Twitter API to develop their own Twitter clients.  Twitter now limits 3rd party developers to a mere 200,000 tokens.. which translates to 200,000 twitter accounts capable of using that piece of software to check and send tweets.  Does this sound like a lot to you?  Sure… but then take into consideration that these tokens do not expire, so if you install a Twitter client and decide immediately that it’s not something you’re interested in, well that token is still in use, even if you delete the program.  For a company like Tapbots, allowing the public to test their software before it reaches the release status… this just does not make sense.  So it’s understandable that they would pull the plug on the download.

Does this spell the end of Tweetbot for Mac OSX?  Not according to the Tapbots blog, which states “Tweetbot for Mac will still be available for sale in the near future”.  

This is great news for those of us who have been waiting patiently for an OSX version of our favourite iOS Twitter client… and for anyone else looking for a great alternative to the official Twitter app, or any of its watered-down clones.

Still… I have to wonder if Twitter is doing a disservice to its users by placing limitations on developers like Tapbots.

What a Crock!

Published August 26, 2012 - 2 Comments

Everyone swears by their slow-cookers.  I’m probably one of the last people to own one, and even though I bought it months ago, yesterday was the first time that I’ve dared to try something in it.  In fairness to Jess, she made fantastic ribs in it a couple of weeks ago, but I was flying solo yesterday, and I learned two things:

  1. Crock-Pot is a brand name, similar to Kleenex and Q-tips.  What I’ve been calling a Crock-Pot for years has probably been a slow-cooker in many instances.
  2. 7 hours is too long for a roast… even on low.

Although it fell apart while I tried to remove the roast from the Crock-Pot, the meat thermometer still showed an internal temperature of 200F, which I was not expecting.  I should have taken it out sooner, but I had already dropped an hour from the original instructions.  I think next time I’ll set it for 6 hours, and test it then.

So how was it?  Still impressive!  It was certainly more tender than my oven roasts, although I would have liked it a little less done in the centre… but next time.  I didn’t throw any veggies in there, because I wasn’t sure how that would work with the gravy I wanted to make.  It’s all still a learning process.

One thing’s for certain, though… Lady Ashburnham pickles still go really well with a roast done in a Crock-pot!  I cooked a batch of Lady A’s Friday… my first batch of the year!  Then I watched my daughter put three large spoonfulls on her plate and spread them over everything.  She’s a bit of a pickle freak… like her Dad!  🙂

Now to find me some good slow-cooker recipes!

Vanity Moose

Published August 22, 2012 - 3 Comments

Jess recently returned from a whirlwind vacation trip through Newfoundland… some place that I would love to visit… someday… If they ever decide to build a bridge to The Rock.  It’s just too expensive to fly, and I’m not sure if I want to be stuck on a large ferry for 12 hours.  So definitely a bridge is in order.  Joey Smallwood would have wanted it!

Jess came back with a ton of great photos, but this one is easily my favourite, and I asked her if I could post it on the blog.

She had several of this moose, but THIS photo is priceless.  The moose is definitely showing off.  The look in her eyes, and I swear that’s a smirk that I can see… as soon as I saw it, I immediately pictured her looking over her shoulder and asking “Does this make my butt look big to you?”

And really… what can you say?  It’s not like you’re going to tell her the truth!  After all, she’s no sleek, slender deer bouncing through the forest with her little white tail in the air…  She’s a big, lumbering moose!  OK… one little white lie won’t hurt…

No Ms Moose… your butt looks great!

 

The New(ish) Apartment

Published August 16, 2012 - 2 Comments

Due to technical difficulties the pictures that were associated with this post are no longer available.

I moved into the new place back in the middle of May.  Since then people have been asking to see what it looks like, but it’s never truly been photo-worthy.  Well, after going out and buying a few things to give it a little homier (is that even a word?) feel I stepped out of the apartment long enough for Jess to make it look beautiful again, and take some pictures… before I came back and added my own personal touch to the place… ie socks on the floor, hoodie laying where it fell, dishes in the sink…  Has anyone seen my keys?

 

The apartment is one of those old style ones quite common in the uptown, with a large house essentially cut into 4 units – 2 up and 2 down.  When you come into our apartment, you immediately walk up a steep flight of narrow stairs to the main level.

At the top of the stairs you can see a long narrow hallway with rooms all branching off to the right.  The wall that runs to the left of the hallway would be our neighbours directly on the other side.  Amazingly, it’s very rare to hear anyone over there.  I don’t know what that wall is made of, but it works great.

Jess put a small table with a big ornamental bowl on it at the top of the stairs by the coat rack.  I’m supposed to drop my keys in there when I come in… I’m getting better, but I still find myself running around frantically some mornings.

 

 

All the floors are hardwood.  I’m no expert, but they look like real hardwood to me.

 

If you come to the top of the stairs, and turn 180 degrees you see a fairly large area that isn’t truly a room, but is a nice open space by a large window.. and conveniently has a ceiling lamp hanging there.  Makes the perfect spot for a small office, with room left over to place our little bistro set, which serves as our eating area.  The guys who lugged my furniture up those stairs seemed really impressed with the floors.

Notice the artsy thing on the wall over the table?  That’s from Spurs Imports.  I would never have thought that I would have an appreciation for something like that, but Jess picked it out, and I love it!

 

 

 

We have a good sized living room, with a large bay window.  You can see that the brand new couch set and coffee / end tables look right at home! After living in an old farm house for over 3 years, surrounded by my grandmother’s old furniture you can not imagine how refreshing it is to come home and collapse on a couch that doesn’t want to… well… collapse!

 

 

 

 

 

Look!  There’s another piece from Spurs!  And that couch… ooohhh.. that couch… I’m not a big fan of sleeping on couches (did waaaay too much of that when I was married) but THAT couch is comfortable!

 

 

 

 

Here’s where all the magic happens.  And by “magic” I mean snoring.  After sleeping on a mattress 6 inches off the floor for the last 3 years, I knew that I wanted to get a kickass bed.  The bed frame is made of reclaimed wood, which means that it was once a barn or something.  You can see nail holes and other marks on it.  It certainly gives the whole thing a rustic look.  And that sucker is heavy!  You cant’ see it in the picture, but there are two matching night stands, and a large dresser made of the same wood.  It’s a beautiful set, and I have Jess to thank for that, since I’d never even heard of that design before.

The mattress and box spring are amazing.  I feel like I’m floating on clouds.  Definitely a step up from what I’ve been used to!

 

 

If I had a single “complaint” about any of the rooms in the apartment, it would have to be the kitchen.  It’s a small kitchen, but what do you expect from an apartment?  I understand that it wouldn’t matter where I moved into… if it’s an apartment, then it comes with an apartment sized kitchen.  Counter space is definitely a premium, and I never seem to have enough of it.  We were able to extend it a little by finding a nice baker’s rack (something else that I’d never heard of until Jess).  My next house is going to have a giant kitchen island to work at!

I love the little decorative touches she made.  It really makes the space feel warmer.
The bathroom is pretty standard.  My only issue with it is that I didn’t have any room to place toiletries except for a tiny little shelf along the mirror.  Everything else was stuffed under the sink in a big mess that just fell out as soon as you opened the door.

One last thing about the bathroom, and it would seem like a very small thing to most people… but…  there’s a shower!  That was one of things that I missed the most when I was in the old farm house.  There, I had a large old claw-style tub… and it was awesome for soaking in… but miserable for those times when I just wanted to have a quick shower and get on with my day.  Now I have that option again, and trust me… it’s the little things that matter!

So that’s the new place!  I still spend some time looking through housing listings, and hopefully this time next year I’ll be posting pictures of a new(ish) home!

Happy 900

Published August 14, 2012 - 4 Comments

I wrote my 900th blog post last night.  I’d say that’s a pretty decent accomplishment.  When I look at the long list of blogs in my news reader, I don’t see too many amateur blogs with many posts.  When I look at the list of friend’s blogs that drew their inspiration (at least in part) from my own… there are certainly a lot of mothballs collecting…   But I understand how hard it is to maintain that consistent momentum.  A special shout out to one of the best friends you could ever ask for, who started blogging as a way to track his progress as a Squire in the SCA back in 2010, and continues to update it today!  I’m sure he’ll be King or Emperor or Grand Poobah someday!

Since launching in 2008, WhatAboutStephen.com has grown from a simple Blogger site read by my mother, sister, and a handful of close friends into a fairly complex WordPress site STILL read by my mother, sister, and a handful of close friends… albeit that number has grown somewhat!  🙂  Truth be told, although you tend to see the same names in the Commenter’s field over and over, those numbers are not a true reflection of the blog’s readership.  Yes, my family and friends will pop over to read the latest posts, but every article posted becomes part of a larger design… one that people still come from all over the internet to read.  Looking at yesterday’s logs you can see a ton of Google searches that landed people on the blog for different reasons… most of which went to posts written well before yesterday.

Search Views
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The numbers might not be staggering, but… My point is, I guess that there’s a value both to myself and a few other people out there who read this blog… so I look forward to the next 900 posts.  🙂

Oh, and here’s a link to my 500th post… seems like forever ago!

Thanks for reading!

New Personal Single Move Record in Words With Friends

Published August 13, 2012 - 0 Comments

I’ve scaled back my online activities a little, but I’m still playing a few games of Words With Friends.  Gotta keep the mind sharp!  Yeah right…  for anyone who’s read my Babble of Scrabble post (or simply played me in a game) knows that I suck at Scrabble-ish games big time.

So I have to enjoy my minor victories when they happen… like last night when I scored a whopping 114 in a single move against my good friend, Cletta.  I’d say that I’m sorry… but you know that I’m not.  And believe me.. if there’s anyone who can blow a 111 point lead, it’s me!  Check back in with me at the end of the week, and I’ll probably have deleted my Words With Friends account too!  🙂

Miley Cyrus Cuts Her Hair?!? WHHHHAAAAAAAAAHHH…

Published August 13, 2012 - 4 Comments

Cute or Crazy?

OK… so maybe it’s not quite as drastic as when Britney Spears shaved off her golden locks… but it’s pretty damn close!  Why?  WHY?!  Miley has faced plenty of public scrutiny over the years, but nothing like this!  When she posted those stupid pics of herself on Twitter I said “She’s just being a typical teenager”.  When she got those tattoos I said “OK… it’s the name of a friend who died… I’ll overlook the permanent blemish”.  When she got engaged I said “She’s 19… she can get engaged if she wants to… ”

But this?  This time she’s gone too far.  This is a travesty of epic proportions!  She had beautiful hair!  And now look at it… looks like it was chopped off with a dull weed whacker!  And let’s not even get into the new colour… ugh…

Why Miley?  WHY?!?

*sigh*

Welcome to Crazy Town.

Maybe I’m becoming too invested in the lives of celebrities…

It’s just hair, right?

Anti-Social Networking

Published August 11, 2012 - 3 Comments

Some people have noticed that I considerably reduced my online footprint recently.  That’s right.  I closed my social network accounts for Facebook (this is nothing new), Foursquare, MyFitnessPal… and my beloved Twitter.  The big question is always the same… WHY?!?

There are many reasons to become involved with social networks… personal, professional, or otherwise… but in my case it seemed as though the magic was fading.  The social aspect had been turned on its head.  In short… it was no longer fun.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some great people out there, and that I don’t occasionally wish that I could fire off some witty tweet to random followers… but for the most part… I think that my social networking experiment is largely done.  I say “largely” because I do have a few Twitter accounts that are directly related to other websites that I have created, but these aren’t used for random silliness that pops into my head.  They’re a little more targeted than that.

Do I miss it?  Sure I do.  Will I be back?  Probably… in one form or another… social networking is not going away.  I’m simply enjoying a much needed breather.