22 June 2005

5 Days

That is how long I've had this Windows XP laptop. That is how long I've had it before it went into its current state of giving me the BSOD and only letting me boot into Safe Mode. The blue screen is only up for a second so I had to let it BSOD 4 times before getting the (hopefully) important parts of the error. One part is DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL and the other is usbuhci.sys. I'm googling around and trying different solutions (including replacing with the file from sp2.cab), nothing working so far.

Good job, Microsoft!

Update 23 Jun 2005

The issue was some serious confusion XP had in dealing with the fact that, at work, I use a docking station with a USB mouse. At home, I don't. This morning it would boot fine with a USB mouse plugged in. Eventually my main man Alan O. deleted some hidden HID and Mouse devices and it has passed several reboots both with and without USB mouse. *crosses fingers*

Update 2 July 2005

I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't report that I still occassionally get this BSOD, although I can usually reboot and it will be fine after. I have taken the extra precaution of packing a USB mouse with me just in case it refuses to boot otherwise.

18 June 2005

X to tha P

I'm writing curled up in the fetal position in front of machine running WindowsXP. OK so it's not the end of the world, but it is definitely a different world. Bear in mind that I haven't had to use a Windows desktop for over 5 years. In that time I've become a hotkey junky from my years spent using icewm and fluxbox. Someone in #vim recommended autohotkey, which seems to be making the transition considerably less painful, but I'm still having to use the touchpad more than I'd like to.

I do have cygwin installed, but I'm trying to make use of actual Windows apps. GVim counts. I'm using Mozilla Thunderbird, and the change from mutt is hurting the most. mutt just rocks. Obviously Firefox goes both ways and my del.icio.us bookmarks keep everything in place.

At least I'll be able to hook into the corporate MS Exchange environment to the fullest. OWA on Firefox is intentionally crippled by Microsoft, and Evolution just SUCKS. Plus all my study guides come with practice exams that, for whatever reason, are Windows executables. Anyway feel free to troll about how I'm whining after getting a new HP laptop, although I do need DVD playback software. QQ

Also, if anyone can explain why I can't connect to IRC servers, I'll ... do ... something. My IRC client (silverex's xchat build) fails, and even telnetting to the server on port 6667 fails. I've tried both with and without Windows Firewall running, and firewall has a full exception on xchat. From my linux desktop and laptop on the same network, I can use IRC clients and telnet to the same server and port just fine. That is the biggest GRRR for me right now.

14 June 2005


While waiting for Oracle backup files to unpack for a restore (not using RMAN yet :p), I decided it would be a good time to get my LDAP addressbook going. I had one previously, but that machine was terribly old the disk failed hard with no backup. Oops. Anyway I plan to make it accessible to the outside via LDAPS as well. Then just need to show my wife how to use it for mail merge for Christmas cards.

Of course, being Gentoo, there is a libdb conflict and now I have to wait while openldap rebuilds as well. Suppose I could try and get this USB CompactFlash card reader to work as well...

12 June 2005

Let the Mortal Kombat ... BEGIN

Finally re-opened the Sybex 9i SQL Guide and kicked off the official studying effort, taking notes as I went through Chapter 1. Although Chapter 1 was pretty basic stuff, there were some things I never knew or noticed before, like the fact that you can use column aliases in the ORDER BY clause. I could probably never get too much review of NUMBER precision/scale scenarios.

HA! Just looked back at my notes and already I miffed the scale-greater-than-precision scenario. NUMBER(3,5) can store from -0.00999 to 0.00999. It requires two zeros (scale - precision) after the decimal and rounds the decimal part to three digits (precision) after the zeros.

There. Now I will NEVAR FURGET.

Back From the D.C.

Yes. Door County, the "thumb" of Wisconsin. Attended a wedding of one of my wife's old friends from our days in Madison. Pretty nice resort that we stayed in, the drive up and back was pretty boring, as is most driving in eastern Wisconsin.

At the reception I overhead one lady, obviously not from the midwest, remarking with great awe at "how clean it is" in Wisconsin, and how clean our air is. Pretty sad where she must come from. Then she asked if the whole state is flat, like her drive. Always encouraging to hear.

Also these losers on the table next to us just could NOT shut up about how Team America is the greatest movie EVAR. Jane and I both liked that movie, but these people seemed to treat the movie as an adaption of holy texts, reciting almost every single line and singing every song from the film. It reminded me of an article from The Onion where a guy pieces together the plot of Napoleon Dynamite just from hearing his friends talk about it over and over.

Anyway congratulations to Abby and Chris, and thanks for inviting us. Plus my daughter was cute as hell in her little dress. GRRL POWR!

Plus, on the drive home I got to enjoy a rare listening of This American Life on WPR and heard a great story about a brother and sister who basically made up a family to babysit for just to get away from their awful mother. You'll have to listen, although nothing still tops the "little mermaid voice-mail" story.

10 June 2005

Fan Loyalty

While driving on my 45-minute commute this morning, I found myself behind a car with some NASCAR stickers on the back window. Being in Green Bay, Wisconsin, this is no surprise. However this particular car had at least 15 stickers, each with its own number, assuming for different drivers. I guess that guy wasn't too comfortable proclaiming his allegiance to just one driver, but basically went with what I assume are the top 15-20 drivers in NASCAR.

Also some ass in a gold mini-van almost merged into my passenger seat. Ass.

07 June 2005


In an effort to get things a bit more organized and hopefully start a reliable weekly game, I've put together a page for Ultimate Frisbee in Manitowoc. Anyone interested please sign up on the mailing list and/or send me an email and I'll add you to the phone list.

Hope to see you Sundays.

04 June 2005

Gentoo Retirement

With the goal of purging myself of a great deal of extra crap in my life, I've announced my retirement from Gentoo Linux. I should say I was mostly motivated to free up some time. A fair bit of my gentoo core list email has been about stuff that I really didn't want to have to see when I started up 2-3 years ago. Political and bureaucratic crap. Developer in-fighting, name-calling, that type of thing. Honestly I can't say I was too overwhelmed since I've been pretty much deleting most of gentoo list email without even reading it for the past 5 months.

And don't get me started on having to support clueless users. I actually agree with a lot of the criticisms those in the linux community hurl at Gentoo users. Stuff like this. Some of the bugs that have been filed my way just contain crazy, insane, why-would-you-do-that type of compiler flags. I mean it's like these people searched the gcc documentation to find the most obscure flags possible to have for some kind of "obscure CFLAGS pissing contest." But I digress.

So I hope to be done for good by the end of July, right around the due date for our second baby. I'll still run Gentoo, but hope to actually gain some marketable skills and install RedHat or at least FC somewhere.

03 June 2005

Hopefully Certifiable

I've decided to knuckle down and begin studying for OCA certification. I've already read through one study guide for the 9i SQL, I plan to re-read it and then go through the official Oracle University self-study CD as well, after I finish my current reading. Sadly I thought I knew a lot of SQL before, but studying for this exam has shown me how little I knew (I scored 35% on the self-assessment test before I started reading the guide). Some of the stuff I can't imagine ever getting a handle on, mostly the *_POP and *_SAMP functions. Guess that means I know what to study hardest on.

My hope is to get the OCA within a year, then get the OCP within 1-2 years after. Perhaps that is a little too aggressive and not too realistic. Of course I can't say how much longer Oracle 9i will be supported, so the sooner I finish, the better.

Someday I may just hold a tiny fraction of what the man knows.