Blog Archives

Catching up

Its been a busy two weeks and I have not posted much to my blog lately. So here is an update starting with the weekend we went to Orlando…

On Saturday October 6th we drove up to Orlando and stayed at the Hilton resort at Disney. My aunt and uncle put us up at the hotel to spend some time with them while they were in town for a conference. We got to the hotel sometime around 4:30 or so. We grabbed some dominos pizza for dinner and Liz’s sister Christina came over to visit for a while. My aunt and uncle arrived later that night and we visited for a while until after midnight.

Sunday we got up and went out to breakfast at a waffle house. Once we were done eating we headed back to the hotel to get ready to go to Downtown Disney. On the way back to the hotel, we saw an IHOP which we would have all preferred, but didn’t know was right there. We got back to the room and got ourselves ready to go and walked over to the Downtown Disney marketplace. We walked around a little and let the kids play at the lego store and checked out some neat things they had setup on the street.

The kids rode a train around a little, and we got some cute pictures of that. They also rode a merry-go-round which they always love. Then we headed over ot the Rain Forrest cafe for lunch. That place is really neat, and has a unique atmosphere and awesome decorations and effects. Every 30 minutes there is a thunderstorm and the animals go wild and they flash lights, etc. Its a lot of fun, the staff are friendly and the food was good.

We walked around a little more and ultimately headed back to the hotel to go swimming. The kids and uncle David beat us all down to the pool, and when I got there, they were already in the water. I tested the water with my toe and found it a little cold for my liking, so I took advantage of the cool breeze and occasional sun to get a little rest on a lounge chair. I had just started to doze while the kids were playing in the pool, when I was awaken by the sensation of rain drop on my face. We got our stuff together and herded the kids under an umbrella and got ourselves ready to go back into the hotel. We got back to the room and changes and visited a little more, and by this time it was after 5pm, so we decided to get ready to go soon. I think we left close to 6 or so, and the rain actually stopped which was good, because traffic would have been slow if it had kept raining. We were home before 7 and got to crash for a bit before getting all the kids off to bed.

Then this past weekend, the 13th and 14th, we actually had a nice productive time at home. Liz and I got a good amount of yard work done and trimmed bushes and cleaned up, which was good. Sunday we spent the bulk of the afternoon at Bonnie Brae park in Temple Terrace, hanging out with friends and letting our kids play. It was a very nice evening and the weather was perfect! The kids played on the playground, and the adults visited and played with their kids. It was very relaxing.

Sunday morning I had a problem with my new phone (the tilt). I set my phone to vibrate in the morning and later it went off so I pulled it out of the holster to check and the screen was all washed out and practically un-usable. I tried to call AT&T about it, but the office I needed to talk to was closed until Monday. So Monday I called and they are sending me a replacement, which I should have by tomorrow (Wednesday). I hope this is not a bad batch of phones and just a strange fluke with the individual unit I received.

Another hard drive crash

Well it happened again. Over the weekend my brand new Seagate FreeAgent 500GB external USB drive crashed. Saturday morning Liz said it wasn’t showing up in Windows. So I tinkered with it and got it working. So I started to copy stuff off of it just in case. Well we had this thing pretty full, so I had to spread our stuff out over 3 machines and its pretty tight on space now at my house (hard drive space that is).

Near the end of copying things off the drive, I moved my leg and my foot caught the power cord which was dangling under the desk. This casued the drive to fall to the floor from the top of the computer where it was sitting. This is not a huge distance, but was enough of a fall to permanently crash the drive (probably a head failure), and I ended up losing lots of software I had collected over the years and some misc stuff. I got all the pictures and most of the important stuff off before it crashed. So it wasn’t terrible, but still no fun. This thing was brand new! So I am getting an RMA from seagate and they will replace the drive, which was in a failing state before it even had its little fall 🙂

Watches Second Star Wars movie – The empire strikes back

Last night we again found ourselves with some free time and got the kids to bed almost on time. We crashed on the couch and started watching the second Star Wars movie. This one was definately better than the first, there were fewer flubs and the acting, story and effects were better (in my opinion). Its funny looking back at the movie, and seeing all the stop motion effects and realizing that back in its day, this must have been what was considered awesome effects and animation. However, watching it today, its just not wowing as it must have once been. We may watch the third movie tonight, if time permits.

So far I find the story line of the movies interesting. Whats really amazing is how young Harrison Ford looks and sounds. Its been a long time since I’ve heard him talk to fast! 🙂

Perspective

I was reading earlier about police chases and came across several stories in the St. Petersburg times about how each time there is a crash fatality that was the result of a police chase, the police chase policies are criticized. What I find most amazing is the varying perspectives based on who you ask about these policies.

To the police, a law has probably been broken, they persue and attempt to apprehend the person involved. The criminal then has two options, stop and be captured, or flee and risk death or worse, hurt others on their attempt to get out of trouble.

When people are in a panic situation, logic and rational thought often go out the window. But it is indeed a selfish choice to attempt to outrun the police and risk others lives just in a pointless attempt to outrun the police.

I read a response from the family of a criminal who was killed by running through a dead end road and crashing into a large pile of sand. The family member said: “It would have never happened this way if they had not chased him, somebody should lose their job for that”.

Its funny how tainted a person’s perspective can be based on the circumstances. To the family member, they blame the police for chasing a criminal. Its NOT the faulf of the police that this person decided to run and rish other people’s lives. In the end it was his life that was lost, and others were injured.

Now maybe this is my hero complex talking, but to me its so simple, break a rule, face a consequence. People break the rules all the time, when something illegal is done its the job of the police to apprehend the person responsible and apply a consequence. As citizens under the protection of the police, it is our responsibility to cease and desist when persued by the police. Everyone knows how this works, and I’m sure they knew the risks when the broke the law. Without policies allowing police to persue criminals, (who often times have faster cars than police, or vehicles that can handle offroad terrain better than a police cruiser) crime would be a much larger problem. People would think that they could do anything and just run to get away with it.

Good people put their lives on the line all the time to enforce the law, protect the public, and give chase to criminals who would otherwise get away with their crime if no chase was given. If a person knows the law, breaks it anyway, and dies as a result of fleeing a police chase, in my opinion, the person fleeing has sealed his/her fate. They will either be apprehended anyway and face worse charges, or they will hurt other people and possibly lose their own life. Its just not worth it!

Cleaning weekend

Saturday we decided we would try to tackle the garage again, and see if we could clean it out. We made good progress and got mostly done before getting distracted by things like eating and getting kids to bed that night. I haven’t parked my car in the garage for several days now. Its almost done and hopefully I’ll be able to park in there tonight.

Sunday, we took the kids swimming after some naps in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day, nice and sunny, and cool in the shade. I watched the kids play and swim and relaxed. I didn’t feel like swimming because I still had work to do at home when we got back. We got some pizza for dinner and had the kids cleanup the messes of the day, then it was off to bed for them. Liz and I crashed on the couch and watched Night at the Museum and then got ready for bed.

We also realized how sweet and cute our little Abby was. She said a few things this weekend that were so cute and the way she talks and how she says things is just heart melting.

My year of Hell in 4 days

There is a Star Trek Voyager episode entitled “Year of Hell”. Its about a span of 365 days in the life of the crew where pretty much anything that could go wrong, goes go wrong and I think they barely survive (its been a while since I’ve seen it). Well, over the last 4 days, I’ve had my year of Hell starting from Friday night to yesterday around 6:30pm. I’ll summarize:

1. Friday night, I installed DST patches

a. DST patch caused a problem where my info stores would not
mount in Exchange 2003
b. The DST patches also broke the goodlink system for mobile e-mail
c. Turned out that MS had changed the way the permissions work in
Exchange and AD and we had to re-set the permissions on our
GoodAdmin account
c. Spent up until 11:30pm working on the DST patches and fixing the
goodlink account while on the phone with Good support

2. Saturday – all day

a. Checked the server from previous night to ensure everything is
still working
b. Found everything to still not be working.
c. Found some objects in Exchange 2003 were not
inherriting permissions correctly. Had to continue
resetting permissions for those items and testing.
d. Continued working with Good support and testing and finally got the
Goodlink mobile e-mail working
e. Had to follow a workaround by allowing inherritance on the
AdminSDHolder AD object and allowing time for replication
f. Spent the rest of the day testing the mobile e-mail system paranoid
that it would fail again.
g. Abby got sick Friday night, so I got maybe 2 hours of sleep Friday
night and Sat Morning

3. Sunday – all morning

a. Continued testing the mobile e-mail system, all tests were working
ok, external and internal.
b. I stayed home with Abby all day to take care of her, she was really
sick and had a very high fever.
c. Got my first almost full night of sleep, since Liz was kind enough to
stay in the living room with Abby

4. Monday – All DAY!!!

a. Started getting complaints that people couldn’t open some e-mail
messages in Outlook
b. Got some reports that people were missing e-mails, that the volume
of messages received over the weekend and morning were very low
c. To make it more frustrating, all the external tests and internal tests
I was doing were working fine
d. Checked the mail queues in Exchange 2003 and found hundreds of
queued messages, they were stuck in the MTA queue
e. Nothing I tried would release the messages
f. I called Microsoft and paid my $245 fee for support, and spent about
8 hours on the phone with 2 separate Microsoft engineers.
g. Once I got through to the escalation engineer, we got the issue fixed
within 3 hours or so.
h. Turned out that MS had made two code changes to alter the way
Exchange does recipient and sender address formatting or lookups.
i. The quick fix was to uninstall patch 930241. So I did, and that
restored functionality completely, for both symptoms.
j. I also worked with MS to run some store traces to try to
identify the issue.
k. After some minor permissions adjustments for two servers who were
still not inherriting permissions correctly, everything started to
work normally.
l. I did NOT have lunch this day, nor anything to drink. I was on the
phone all day!
m. At 6:35pm I finally left the office and went home and crashed!

So as you can see, thanks to Congress for screwing around with the Daylight saving configuration and thanks to Microsoft for making some code changes that had unexpected side effects, I ended up having a very bad few days indeed. I really didn’t get a weekend, no break, barely any sleep. Its going to take me a while to recover from that. I need a vacation! Sarah has off all next week for spring break, I’m thinking of asking for next Wednesday off to break up the work week and give myself a break.

Stressful few days

The last few days have been hectic to say the least. With all the DST preparations that were needed and other daily tasks it was just crazy. Then on Friday evening after installing the DST updates for Exchange 2003, it broke our Goodlink system for mobile e-mail. The cause was a known issue, and I even worked wtih Goodlink previously and made the necessary changes to our permissions to get around it, but for some reason, we still had problems. I had to contact Good support and work with a tech until almost midnight on Friday, and even past noon today (Saturday). I basically had to re-do all the goodlink account permissions and modify some settings in AD and Exchange. I’ll post all the MS KB articles later. It was a long process and I didn’t get the server back into normal working condition until around noon today. It was working ok when I stopped last night just before midnight, but for whatever reason, the problem re-appeared after a few hours sometime overnight.

To make matters worse, Abby started acting sick yesterday, and woke up last night around 1am with a cough high fever. I heard her crying so I went to get her. Liz and I crashed on the couch because of the time and we like sleeping on the couch sometimes. So when I heard Abby crying I went to get her, only to find her in my bed crying. She had gone in my room to find us and we weren’t there. So she got up in our bed and was crying. I brought her out to the couch with me and Liz and I swapper her around and barely got any sleep. So today, I spent a lot of time working on the goodlink issues, but Liz had to go out to a MOPS picnic event (which we were all going to go to) to spend some time with some orphans. I didn’t get to go, I ended up staying home to work and Abby wasn’t well so I also watched Abby and Michael while Liz took Sarah in the Miata.

We didn’t do much of anything today, and Sarah seems to be the only one with any Energy today. Tomorrow is the last day of the strawberry festival. I love their strawberry shortcake!!! And I would love to come home with a flat of strawberries, but I don’t know for sure yet if I’ll get to go. The plan is to grab some cash from the bank tomorrow and sometime after lunch, I’ll run over to Plant city and get some strawberries, and hopefully find a place that has some strawberry shortcake!

Now I’m off to rest with poor sick little Abby and maybe watch a movie or something while collapsing on the couch!

Computer problems

Sometimes even us computer professionals make really dumb mistakes on our computers. I was downloading some software last night and messing around a bit, when I opened something I knew I shouldn’t have. I had some zip files on my desktop that I had downloaded and when I tried to open them (without first scanning them for viruses) they just said the archive was damaged. But I could extract them with winrar. So I figured I just did something bad! I was adding and removing software from the PC, when I had to reboot. After the reboot, Windows would load to a blue screen waiting to open the logon box, but instead I just got STOP errors and Winlogon would crash and do a memory dump. So I stayed up till about 11:30 working on it, trying to get it working before Liz got home so she would have her PC today. I was never able to get it working and even tried some live linux CDs just to get her something to use. No luck! So I am going to try a different tool tonight to see if I can get to the system restore feature of Windows XP (since not even Safe Mode will work). If that works it makes it easier for me to backup and then re-load everything, but either way, it looks I’ll spend my weekend re-loading our PC again! I seem to be doing that more and more frequently lately. I wish I had a nice powerful server I could run Virtual server 2005 on, then I could just setup a virtual PC for all my downloading and testing, then it wouldn’t screw up my PC! I think I may also start making routine backups with ghost or something like that once I get it back up and running. I get the feeling that I need to do some hardware swapping too, since the machine seems so slow. Its got good stuff in it, but its just not as fast as it used to be. I could probably use a new hard drive, memory and motherboard. We use our computers a lot, and they run almost all the time, so things do tend to wear out!

Finished first LOTR movie together.

It took us a while, but over the course of two days, Liz and I watched the first LOTR Movie. So now I’ve seen the first two, and she has seen the first one. I should have the second movie soon, so we can watch that one together as well. If we can finish the second movie before too much longer, we may be able to watch the third one together with some friends. We stayed up a little late last night trying to finish the first movie, so we ended up crashing on the couch. Its a really comfortable couch, especially to sleep on 😉

Weekend fun

Liz will be away at a MOPS retreat this weekend, from Friday evening to Saturday evening. During this time, I will have all three kids to myself. The plan is for Friday night to have a sleepover in the living room, for the girls and myself that is, Michael will still be in his own room. We’re going to have popcorn and watch a movie and then all of us crash in the living room and sleep there together. It should be fun and I’ll get to catch up on lost time with the girls, since we’ve been so busy the last few weeks. I am not sure what we will do on Saturday yet, but I’m sure we can think up something. Its just a shame we can’t all 4 of us fit in the Miata!!!