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Dell Sucks August 29, 2014

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There I’ve said it. 

We bought a PowerEdge R420 server. From the git go the thing had a problem with the RAID battery going south. They came in and repaired that. 

Then recently we had to put both HFS+ and NTFS support on the machine. But when we did the rear chassis USB ports and the add on USB 3.0 card stopped functioning. We had chalked it up to the NTFS driver but I rolled back the software and still couldn’t do anything. 

So today I contacted Dell. Spent over FIVE hours on the phone and in emails back and forth with them. It ended with me telling them to escalate the problem and ship us a new server configured exactly as that one and we’d cross ship the broken server. We’ll see if they deliver on that one. 

Once you join a political campaign August 28, 2014

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It’s not something you can cleanly walk away from. As you might have gleaned from this web site until I found a full time job I had been doing the I.T. work for a political campaign. 

Even got them setup on mail services, web services etc. But then I got a full time gig and had to leave. 

Except you can’t break away cleanly. They know I’m capable. 

So tonight the emergency was that they printed 5,000 flyers for the campaign. And multiple people proof-read the flyer. And I have experience with this type of thing – as I know sitting in the sub basement of the Rhode Island State House are a few thousand flyers for go to vote with the wrong 800 number on them. 

But in the case before me – they screwed up the web site address. They didn’t know about it until someone alerted them to it. That’s when I get a text message asking if I can help. Yes in fact I can. 

Now the normal web site for the campaign is girouxforgovernor2014.com which just points to a Google Sites page. But the flyers just had girouxforgovernor.com on them. Oops. One proof reading tip, read it backwards. You’ll spot the errors like that. 

Anyhow I went GoDaddy and plunked $12 down as fortuitously the domain girouxforgovernor.com was actually available. It’s all registered to me and forwarded to the girouxforgovernor2014.com site. 

The campaign got really lucky on this one. But I’m glad I could help with a minimum of fuss and muss. 

Where some of my new music came from August 20, 2014

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For my love of Nujabes I have to thank Cliff M. 

For my love of Jack Johnson I have to thank Siulam F. 

For my love of Zero 7 I have to thank Jim W. 

For my love of some Steely Dan I have to thank Dan M. 

For my love of Gogol Bordello I have to thank John D. 

 

Thank you all for introducing me to new music I wouldn’t have otherwise heard. 

 

The Murder of Michael Brown August 17, 2014

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I chose the title o f this post because it is clear to me that Michael Brown was MURDERED by Ferguson Missouri Police officer Darren Wilson. 

And now of course we’re hearing that Brown may or may not have stolen a $1 pack of Cigarillos from a convenience store several blocks away from the shooting site. 

My friends, do recall the police actually said that Brown had NO CRIMINAL RECORD. And that Officer Wilson did NOT know of the strong-arm robbery at the store. 

It is clear that the police are in damage control mode. And the first tactic of damage control is to paint the victim of having deserved killing. 

So the value of Michael Brown’s life was $1 by that logic. 

A whole lot of unarmed black men have been killed by police all over the past few decades by police and the police suffer no consequences for doing so. But in the case of Ferguson, I think we’re seeing the curtain being drawn back on police policies and tactics. 

Does the petty theft of a $1 item require as a response the police killing of yet another black man? It does not. The police officer used EXCESSIVE force resulting in the death of Michael Brown. 

This particularly sticks in my craw because my SO is black, and so too my nephew. I wouldn’t want to see either of them gunned down by police for flimsy reasons or any reason at all. And having worked in law enforcement myself, it irks me even more to see the police falling to standard tactics to try to paint the victim as heaving deserved execution. 

Policing in the U.S. has to change. It’s a different world out there but the pigs haven’t gotten the message. Part of it is the use of Compstat in NY which has now spread to virtually every department out there. Compstat wasn’t designed to decrease crime, it was designed to measure the effectiveness of police practice. But instead – in every place it’s been implemented it’s been used to put down the black and brown populations. 

In other words – there’s no other reason than a perverted use of statistics behind a lot of the ludicrous behavior by white cops. 

Hell, even here in Providence a number of years ago we had a black Police officer gunned down by two white police officers. That was a hornets nest – you can just imagine because it was police on police. Of course the cop who was killed did some stupid things too, like not holding out the badge and identifying as police, holding a gun in gangster pose, etc. It resulted in one dead cop, and two cops who’ll never patrol again. 

But it had racism at it’s core. At the time of the shooting of that cop the department had close to 600 sworn officers. Pretty hard to know everyone when you get past 175 or so. So those cops saw the black cop as being a gangster and bang, you’re dead. 

 

 

Back with Pandora One August 16, 2014

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So this evening I went onto Pandora.com

It’s one of my favorite music sites. But I had forgotten, I had to upgrade to Pandora One again. $4.99 a month which comes out to $59.88 per year. Yeah, I did it again. 

I figured I’d already tuned Pandora up with all the artists and music I like so why the hell not? 

A Hellish Friday August 15, 2014

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Let’s just say today had to be the worst one on the job. 

We had to wipe a bunch of servers – and we used the DBAN tool to do so. Only DBAN didn’t actually wipe a few servers even though it took the same amount of time and went through the progress bar etc. 

Woops – and we all signed off on it. So we were trying to see what was still left on the servers we still had. 

Tried Ubuntu server – no dice. Tried Knoppix – some success there but it showed no data left. Weird. 

But it was a grind from about 2PM to 4:30PM. 

 

Pretty Good Bluetooth Headphones Inland Pro HT August 12, 2014

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First lets get the terms straight. Headphones are over the ear, earphones are in the ear. You get the idea now. 

Of the headphones there are those that cup the ear, those that sit on the ear. In earphones there are those that hang or plug into the ear canal. 

So we’re talking headphones that sit on the ear. The ones we’re looking at today are the Inland Pro HT’s. You can get them on Newegg for about $40 now. 

Very easy to setup, Use the included USB cable to charge – you’ll see the LED on the side of the unit glow red. When the charge is complete the LED changes color to blue which indicates a full charge. 

When they’re charged, remove them from the USB cable and turn them on by holding down the button on the right side until the LED alternates between red and blue. Then turn on Bluetooth on your device and look for BH-ProHT. You’re connected!

Works on Android phones perfectly. Even has a mic in the unit so you can use it for phone calls. 

 

 

Trying to reach Newport August 10, 2014

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So I took a ride down to Newport. All the ITS display boards warned there was an accident on the Pell bridge. 

Put it this way, the 40MPH speed limit on that bridge is a joke. As are the narrow yellow markers down the middle of the bridge. 

So about 1,000 feet from the toll station we’re stuck. The side bound toward Newport is wall to wall cars. People are putting on the old emergency brake and setting the cars in park and getting out for a stretch. We do see a blue SUV with flashing lights and a meat wagon (aka rescue truck) with lights flashing and sirens blaring go by. So whoever it was, they scraped them out alive. 

In front of me is a black Toyota RAV4 with MA plates on it. I start looking at those yellow uprights and think to myself, “Hey, this FIesta is narrow enough it’d fit right through.”. 

I see the reverse lights on the RAV4 light up. Then back to brake lights. The woman gets out and admonishes me that they’re not going to hit the Fiesta, they’re just trying to get out. I responded that i had the exact same thought. 

So right after them I made the U turn and went back the other way. 

Hopefully it will be all cleared up by the time I have to head down there again. 

 

 

For everything there is a first time: A ride on Acela Express August 4, 2014

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So today I get to the Central Square Red Line station and see it’s almost 10 minutes before the next train going toward South Station. What the hell! 

Needless to say the Red line gets in at 4:07:40 – leaving me 20 seconds to get up several flights of stairs and out to the MBTA commuter that leaves at 4:08PM. 

Next train isn’t until 4:35PM. So I went over to the Amtrak kiosk in South Station, plugged my credit card in and bought a $35 business class ticket on train 2173 to D.C. which stops in Providence. 

The train reminds me very much of an airliner more than a train. 

 

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The seats are nice and wide, and they recline quite a ways. 

The Amtrak people are very nice, respectful and courteous. 

The ride itself was a lot smoother than the MBTA commuter. And the entire trip took 45 minutes, saving 25 minutes on what the commuter would take. 

I’d say it was worth the $35 bucks Boston to Providence. I may just do this every Friday, I’ll try out coach it is appointed similarly but tighter seating because that’s only $21. 

All in all I like it. Not stopping at EVERY station is nice. It goes South Station, Back Bay, Rte 128 Station and then Providence. Skips Ruggles, Hyde Park, Sharon, Mansfield, Attleboro and South Attleboro entirely. 

So if you ever get the chance to city hop on the Acela Express I highly recommend it. Very speedy and comfy way to go. 

And for those of you around the U.S. who aren’t served by Acela – all I can say is lobby, lobby, lobby your elected representatives to get electric trains everywhere in the United States. 

 

 

Goodbye Radio Shack August 2, 2014

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Sad news for Radio Shack. Oh I’ll likely swoop in and buy the parts section that still remains in my local stores. But beyond that I haven’t been in a Radio Shack in years. 

I think it came back a while ago – when they’d constantly hawk batteries, or want your phone number, address, etc for a simple cash sale. I used to say when they asked “C-A-S-H

They had the heyday – when they introduced the TRS-80 Model I for example – and they continued that line for a while. But then they had the Tandy 1000 series – PC Clones and they just couldn’t keep with that. 

Then of course there’s the parts – that section of the stores dwindled to the point where you now can get bags of ten or more of a component on Amazon for a dollar. 

They essentially made a bad move. They could have embraced the maker movement, their roots, the Tandy part was a leather craft place. In fact the the TRS part of TRS-80 stood for Tandy Radio Shack. 

But in this new world where the innovation on the net has killed yet another retail chain I can’t say I’m sad to see it go. I will swoop in and buy liquidation items. That’s about the extent. 

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