Monday, 14 December 2009

X-Factor over... let the CD purchasing begin!

As I mentioned before, I haven't really been a fan of the show "X Factor" but this year I've actually watched the last few shows. Last night, the show ended. About two to three hours later, I had pre-ordered two CDs from the winner. I'm not sure how many more people did the same thing, but sounds like it's going to be a profitable end of year.


Saturday, 12 December 2009

X-Factor ...

What happened? I've never been interested in watching these shows. Idol in the US, X Factor and any of those show; I would avoid watching as I always thought they were boring. I never really cared, but tonight I'm actually watching.

The three contestants on tonight's show are actually VERY talented. They have really good voices and I know I've actually made up my mind as to who should win. Some how the personalities don't really lend themselves to stardom since all three singers are very down to earth.

The truth is that all 3 of them have won. The publicity they've gotten so far and their talent will make them famous and they'll have great professional careers.

All I can say is that I think I'll have to buy 3 CDs whenever they come out.


Friday, 11 December 2009

Simply rails...

No, I'm not going to talk about Ruby-on-Rails or Perl-on-rails or python-on-rails or train rails. I'm talking about server, switch, router mounting rails.

One of the things that I have to do for work is mount equipment. I've had to mount equipment from several manufacturers and of different types. Some are just mounting brackets where it doesn't reach the full length of the rack, some are longer and go from to back and some "meet in the middle."

I'm not going to name manufacturers, but I can tell you the these are the things that ALL manufacturers have at one time done wrong and sometimes get right after several tries. One of them makes such wonderful rails that they can be mounted with one hand. This particular company has gone through different iteration of "rapid mount" rails. (Which usually cost extra, but they're worth the cost.)

See, the thing that most manufacturers don't take into account (or maybe they do, but they don't care) is that at times, there's only ONE person mounting the equipment. And depending on the weight of the equipment and WHERE the equipment is going (bottom of rack or top!) this can be really painful to do if the rails don't slide property or are hard to mount.

Anyway, I've emailed one of the manufacturers that we use and who's rails aren't easy to use and asked if this can be "revised."

I'm trying to do something positive for that company and at the same time avoid back pain.


Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Food glorious food!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been using a service (My Home Personal Assistant) to delegate tasks (ironing) off to someone. It's great to get back the kids uniforms and my shirts and trousers all nicely ironed and taken care of; something that my wife and I have had trouble getting right and spend far too much time trying to do.

I was a beta tester of sorts for the latest service that they provide which is home cooked meals. They've finalized the menu and include several dishes that are really good. There are a few things to note:

  1. Most of the dishes are meant to be the main course where you still have to (well, you don't have to) add something to make it a full meal. It could be rice or a baked potato or maybe some vegetables.

  2. The portions are single portions. That's to say, what you see on the menu is meant for a single person, but you can order a family meal if you contact them before hand and explain. I think there's even a discount if you were to order for a family meal.

  3. It was explained to me that the dishes that have been picked were picked because there are many dishes already that you can buy pre-made at the local stores (frozen but ready to cook) and these dishes are all made fresh. These dishes are also dishes you're less likely to find at the local store. Makes sense.

We have tried two of those at home. One from the menu and one was a test dish that might get added to the menu later.

The Spanish Chicken and New Potatoes - which was pretty much a full meal, was amazing. It had chorizo, chicken and vegetables and all we had to add was some rice which took another 15 minutes to prepare while we heated the dish.

The other dish was Salmon wrapped in Parma Ham and New Potatoes. The kids usually leave something - i.e. not all food gets eaten, but in both these cases the plates were practically clean.


I may not be able to afford to completely stop cooking, but for a once a month (or even once a week) thing, I might be able to survive off of this menu.


Saturday, 5 December 2009

Firefox on Ubuntu oddness

I started noticing that Firefox would come up after a restart and any saved sessions would load, but... it looked like it never finished. I then realized that resizing the window would then actually display the contents in FF properly.

Very odd...

I'll have to take a look and see where the problem lies. I've updated to the latest version of everything to see if it fixes the problem but so far no go. It may be something that's not yet documented elsewhere, so I'll have to post it when I find out what the solution is.

Keep an eye out.


Thursday, 3 December 2009

Stem cell donation?

My brother who lives in Belgium told me about this campaign that the Belgian Red Cross (Rode Kruis) is promoting. They're requesting that people donate stem cells since these can be used to (possibly) find curses for terminally ill people. They even have a Facebook app that you can use and send to your friends. (They ask "Who are your real friends".)

I don't know if the Red Cross in other countries do that or if that data can even be shared across borders with another country that allows stem cell research. I wonder if that is considered illegal?

I definitely would like to see what else they can do with stem cell (stamcel) research.


Wednesday, 2 December 2009

OmniGraffle to SVG

Lately you'd think I'm obsessed with SVG, but the truth is I'm just trying to cope with all the different diagramming tools out there and see if I can find a common format between all of them that is a standard. SVG is it. Anyway, working with Macs and all the wonderful software that they have, I've had to start looking at converting Graffle files created with OmniGraffle to SVG. The easiest way is again, converting to PDF and importing the PDF in Inkscape.

The interesting thing is that once you break out the PDF, you get all the objects and you can then fiddle around with the page. The fonts have been the one issue, as I do ask Inkscape to try to find a font similar to the one in the document, and it's not really good at doing that.

Anyway, doing a quick search on google I found graffle2svg. A pair of python scripts that will try to convert the graffle file into an SVG. In my case it didn't work since OnmiGraffle seems to have changed the format of their file format. Well, it use to be a zip file, now it's a directory.

Still, this is a good start and I look forward to trying this out and maybe helping out the developer to get it working. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one that loves his SVG.


Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Frustrations of the MegaCli tool

If you have ever used the command line tool for Dell PERC controllers, you'll know that MegaCli can be a powerful tool.

The frustrating bit is that the output of MegaCli -h means you're stuck guessing for what each parameter does. Some you can guess, but wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to guess?

I found a post about the exact same frustration and someone posted the following link to the LSI MegaRAID SAS User's Guide

This is exactly what I was looking for - particularly starting on page 126.