Wednesday, 07 April 2004

Intel has served up a (very addicting) simulation game that will give you a taste of what it's like in my little corner of the universe. Think you've got what it takes? Heheheh, give it a try... May not be as easy as you think!

The IT manager - overworked and underappreciated. You know the story. Back in school, always the last to be picked for football, but the first one they ran to when they accidentally deleted a homework assignment. Not much has changed since then. But the fact is it takes a special skill set to manage an IT department. As IT manager you need to monitor industry trends and administer mission-critical resources for an entire company. At the same time, you have to manage increasingly tighter budgets - finding ways to do more with less - and possess the people skills to oversee staff and run interference with top decision makers.

The Intel® IT Manager Game tests your entire skill set - people management, resource allocation, strategic analysis and planning. It also tests your courage under fire - can you stand up to the scrutiny of top management along with that of your peers in the industry? Will the decisions you make result in breathtaking profits or devastating losses? Will you enjoy the sweet taste of victory or the bitter agony of defeat? Are you destined for management glory or will you be the kid sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the bell to ring? Find out by
playing the Intel® IT Manager Game now.

Thanks to Scott for sending me the link.



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Humor | Tech
Wednesday, 07 April 2004 12:02:43 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 05 April 2004

Check it out - something new has been released from the MSFT secrecy stronghold and has suddenly hit the 'net for all to see. And it's pretty darn cool.

http://channel9.msdn.com/

This is cool stuff - it's all about the conversation.

Anyhow, this is a new idea, and it looks to be promising. It shows how thoughts and ideas are just as important as techniques and skills.



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Blogging | Tech
Monday, 05 April 2004 22:40:54 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 04 April 2004

I rented a tractor yesterday. They dropped it off here in The Middle of Nowhere(TM) at about 9 a.m. yesterday, and picked it up this morning. It cost me $200. Sure, that's a lot of money, but I've decided it's more than worth it. Here's why:

  1. I can stand up straight and I slept last night - I have a bad back. The doc says I'm not a surgical candidate yet. Operative word there. No pun intended. Anyhow, I'm not ready to go under the knife, and I prefer to be able to stand, walk, lie down, etc. without the extreme pain I've endured from time to time because I pushed myself too hard. I'd rather give my money to the rental place, and avoid the wasted time, pain and insurance deductibles.
  2. Got more than a few day's worth of manual yard and garden/other work done in one day - And I even made a trip to the store in the middle of the day, so in reality, it's was just a partial day of tractoring. Among the things it helped get done include moving 11 cubic yards of soil to several above-ground planting beds, excavating a flat space in a hillside for a new raised bed (otherwise a couple days worth of work by hand), repairing the quarter-mile gravel driveway (which runs up and down a couple of steep hills and tends to get ruts and bumps galore).
  3. Helped the neighbors - Last year I rented a heavy-duty rear-tine tiller to break up the ground for a back-yard lawn. It didn't work - the ground here gets so hard (clay soil) that even an 11-horse tiller can't break the surface. Horsepower means nothing if you can't get through that top layer. I saw yesterday that my neighbor had rented the same tiller as I had last year (coulda sworn I had warned him when it didn't work for me), and was attempting the same task. Feeling his pain, I pulled the tractor up and offered to rip the ground to make it easier to till, and he gladly accepted. Box scraper implements with big nasty digging teeth are amazing, and the neighbor was able to move on to tilling other areas of his yard. 'Nuf said.
  4. Tractors are Fun - Ask any guy who's used a full-size commercial tractor and they'll tell you, these are real men's toys. God Bless John Deere. :-)

Back when I was a teenager I spent a couple summers helping out/working now and then on a horse farm that some friends owned. One of my favorite things about it was the tractor. It was cool then, and it's still cool today.

Yee Haw. ;-)



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Personal Stories
Sunday, 04 April 2004 13:36:15 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 01 April 2004

I must say, I was just a little surprised at how many people actually thought I was being serious earlier today... I mean - DOG SEAT BELTS??? Come on! ;-)

My story was borrowed from a pre-planned radio show on 1190-KEX here in Portland. The radio personalities notified some listeners a day ahead of time, to have them help to make it that much more believable. It worked.

The first person I heard from among many today was my friend, co-worker and neighbor, Mike. He seemed shocked that my dog, Buddy, was in jail.

My reply: “Can you *believe* that crap????”

He wasn't the only one. :-o

Once the radio show started this afternoon, not only did the phone calls start rolling in to the KEX studio, but the local and state police offices started getting a lot of phone calls, too. The Portland Police Bureau was warned ahead of time, and it sounds like they were ready, but the Oregon State Patrol wasn't aware or prepared for a bunch of phone calls from angry and confused people wanting to know what the heck was going on with this “new law.”

Classic.

Anyhow, Happy April Something-or-Another. :-)



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Humor | Personal Stories | Things that Suck
Thursday, 01 April 2004 19:52:05 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I used to be a cop. I don’t have a problem with laws that make sense. I do, however, have a serious problem with stupid laws that go too far.

On Wednesday evening, I became a victim of Oregon's new PET RESTRAINT LAW.

This law requires that you restrain your pet (dog, cat, ferret, whatever) in special seat belts while traveling in a moving vehicle. Yes, that’s right, Dog Seat Belts. The cost of these special animal restraints runs anywhere from 20 to 30 dollars, if you can find one. Holding an animal in your lap is NOT acceptable. Animals are apparently also required to be restrained in the back of an open pick-up bed in an attached animal carrier. This law actually went into effect January 1, 2004 but only warning tickets were given out until March 1, and since then they've been writing citations for real. And I got screwed.

So now I owe a fine of $150 for my first offense and my dog was confiscated to the local animal shelter, and I have to go there to get him back, but I can’t do that until I show proof that I have a pet restraint in the car. Plus, I’m told that if I get caught a second time, they’ll take my pet from me permanently and charge me with animal neglect.

The stupidest part is that it wasn’t even a cop that saw my dog walking around in the back seat – It was someone working on a construction crew on a highway near my house. Any Oregon State police officer, city cop, OR roadside worker can act as a witness in court according to the statute. If the road crew sees you and calls the police, they can either find you and pull you over (like me), or they can send you a citation in the mail.

This sucks. How the heck do these laws get passed???

Update: See Hook, Line, Sinker ...



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Humor | Personal Stories | Things that Suck
Thursday, 01 April 2004 00:01:18 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 31 March 2004

Google just can’t seem to stop pushing the coolness quotient to new levels.

New on the scene: Google Personalized (beta). Now this is great stuff – set up a profile of what your primary areas of interest are, then start searching on Google. By default, Google will return its standard results, but at the top of each results page you’ll see a slider mechanism. Move the slider to the right, and the results are narrowed down more and more to match your profile.

That’s cool.



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Tech
Wednesday, 31 March 2004 19:59:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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