Blog Archives

So busy!

I am normally pretty busy, but lately its just been crazy!  Between some website development I’m doing in my spare time, my full time job and stuff going on with Liz and the kids; its rather hectic. 

We realized the other day that our washing machine was starting to leak, so we jumped on craigslist and found a nice newer set for a great price and the guy even offered to deliver.  They were dropped off yesterday, so after work I installed both a new washer and dryer and tested them out.  Then it was off to web work land for me, which I got carried away with and was up way too late!  I skipped my normal gym night in hopes of going tonight instead.  I don’t like to mess up my schedule, but this won’t be too bad, since Liz and the kinds will be busy on thursday night, so I can go thursday after work and it won’t be a big deal. 

With the web work I’m doing, I am finding all sorts of neat little tricks with flash and other cool tools.  I think I am going to integrate some flash stuff on my personal sites soon, once if things slow down for me. 

Advertisements

Crazy night

Last night was absolutely crazy from the time I got home, until I went to bed. It all started when I walked in the door and found the house to be almost 85 degrees inside. Liz had just left, and so I started checking out the system, resetting breakers, etc. Nothing I did would work, and so I resorted to checking the phone book to find the numbers of a good after hours A/C contractor. I found one of the ads for one of the companies we had out before A-Able. I called and they said someone could be out in a few hours. I gave us messing with it myself, and decided to make myself some dinner. I baked up one of those frozen pizzas from the California Pizza Kitchen. I must say I’m not a fan of frozen pizza, but the ones from the California Pizza Kitchen are really good. They are actually pretty close to the originals you can get at the restaurant. I love the Marguerita pizza, and its really good, even for a frozen pizza.

During all this commotion with the A/C I notice a car parked next door that looked suspicious. I saw some people going through the gate and they were playing with the pool supplies, and opening shed doors and stuff. As far as I knew this house was still vacant, and the kids in the neighborhood have been screwing around with the for sale sign for months, so I did notice it was missing, but it could have also been taken by the kids. So I called the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to report something suspicious. I explained what I saw and that I thought the house was supposed to be vacant. About an hour or so later, a deputy finally arrived, and I met him at the garage door of my house, told him what I thought and he went to check it out. A little later he came back by my house and explained that they were the new renters and everything was on the up and up. I was concerned because we’ve had kids breaking into that yard through the fence to swim, and they mess around with the for sale sign, and we are afraid something will happen while they are back there, and no one would know they were there and someone could get hurt. So I assumed it was the same situation here, and was just trying to make sure this wasn’t someone breaking into the house. Especially since I didn’t see anyone use the front door, only the door in the fence (which the lock is broken). I chatted with the officer for a few minutes and then he left. I felt aweful calling the cops on my new neighbors. What a terrible first impression. And they knew it was me I’m sure since I was talking to the officer in my driveway.

Then the A/C guy gets to the house and walks in and I tell him about whats going on, and he says that its nothing but a clogged drain. He pulls out the end of a sensor and empties some built up water, and then we turn the air switch back on and the pump kicks on and the unit starts cooling. I felt like an idiot! At least I know there are two drains now, there is one outside and one inside, I had checked the outside drain, but didn’t know to check the inside one. The system still won’t cool properly, so he came again today and checked it out and agrees with the other two opinions we’ve had. Everyone is telling us we need to replace the pump outside. The bad news is that this is going to cost!!! I got a quote from a guy on craigslist offering to install a 4 ton pump for $1500 everything included. So I am going to follow up with that, make sure he can accept credit card payment, and then see about getting some prices from one other place.

Then Liz’s mom called me and I helped her with some issues with their new computer.

During all of this, I was also running around the house with the hand vac chasing down little winged insects that somehow decided to swarm in my house. I’m not sure what they are, but there were a lot of them and I had to go around the house several times sucking them up with the hand vac. I’d get done going around once, empty the hand vac outside, put it down for a little while, then I’d walk out in the play room and find more, so I’d have to repeat the whole process again. I finally got most of them I guess, and then shortly thereafter Liz and the kids got home. They were late and didn’t get home till after 9pm. We got the kids to bed, and talked about our crazy days for a few minutes, then it was off to get ready for bed. What a day!

Stressful Sunday

We had a bit of a crazy time this past sunday. Liz slammed the Miata car door on Abby’s fingers, so we were taking care of her, and during this whole ordeal, Michael went into the kitchen and opened the oven door and burned his little finter tips. Neither of the incidents were bad, they were fine in a few minutes, but it was enough to make the stress levels rise. Plus I hate seeing my “babies” hurting.

The long weekend

This is going to be a long post, so be prepared for some reading…

Firday I took a personal day from work to stay home and watch the kids while Liz went to a conference in Orlando. She actually left on Thursday afternoon, but her parents came earlier on Thursday to help with the kids. So I got home on Thursday evening and she was gone 😦 After some settling in, we decided to have soup and grilled-cheese sandwiches for dinner. This is a simple meal, but very tasty (I make a great grilled-cheese sandwich). I had a bit of a crazy time trying to time everything just right, making soup and sandwiches for so many people at once. It turned out good, which I was a little doubtful about since we were one package of soup short of what I thought we’d have. There was plenty for everyone and it was good.

We got the kids in bed on Thursday night and had some fun beforehand playing the wii. Once the kids were in bed, Liz’s parents played the wii and after a while we shut the wii off and watched a movie. We put on Eragon and stayed up late.

Friday morning, after the kids and I had breakfast, we had a wii tournament. I played a few games with the girls, and then Liz’s parents started a bowling competition. They both achieved pro status and had some very good games. They were beating me and I lost some of my pro points.

Then we decided to run out to a store to try to buy a computer for my brother-in-law’s fiance’ We went to Circuit City in New Tampa and looked around (this was while Sarah was in school). We were there for about 2 hours with Michael and Abby actually being pretty good. We found a computer we all agreed was a good one, for about $400 but it didn’t come with a monitor. They had a package deal with it, but the monitor it came with was a bulky CRT.

Kind of kidding, I said they could buy me one of the nice HP flat panel monitors and I would give them my 19″ dell FP at home and give them some money for the upgrade. They agreed and the rep checked inventory, but found they didn’t have any of the computer we picked out in stock. So my mother-in-law asked if they would sell them the display model. The rep agreed and came back with a price around $330 something. We went to check out and they were going to keep the computer for a few hours and re-image it and then have us come back to pick it up. We were about to leave when Liz’s dad found a problem with the receipt. After probably an hour of waiting and adjusting, they just couldn’t get it right. They ended up getting the computer for about $185 and they got an additional $30 discount on the monitor. All in all, they paid around $460 or so for the computer and monitor, which is an awesome deal!

We went to Wendy’s after that since we are all starving and it was around lunch time anyway. I was in a hurry because I wanted to hook up the new monitor. We got to Wendy’s and got in the drive through line, but the line was moving slow. Liz’s mom suggested it would faster if she just went in and ordered. So I pulled out of line into a parking spot. We waited in the car for what felt like 30 minutes, when finally Liz’s dad went in to check out what was taking so long. Turned out they were out of chicken right at noon (go figure) and had to cook more on the spot. We finally got out of there after 12:35pm and made it home to sit down and eat. I fed Michael and got him down for a nap and started setting up the new monitor on the computer desk. At first, it worked, but was blurry, and didn’t have the software installed for the proper resolution or settings. After installing the right software, the DVI output stopped working. When set to the right resolution, the monitor would go into standby, and the display would just stop. I tried everything, uninstalling, safe mode, new drivers, new ATI software, etc. Nothing worked and I ended up taking the video card out of my multimedia computer and reloading my home computer’s OS. Once reloaded with the other video card, there were no problems and things were fine.

So now my multimedia computer is stripped of its video card and is non functional. I ordered a new video card from TigerDirect online, and it should be here sometime mid-week. I got an HIS Radeon 512MB GDDR3 Pro card, with nice specs and enhanced HD support. This should be a major improvement! I was sad to find out later that my power supply in my multimedia machine is only 250W, meaning that the new video card won’t have enough power in that computer. I may end up for now putting the new card in my main computer and taking the original video card that was in the playback computer and put it back in since I know that works. But ultimately, I want to get new power supplies for both computers, a 500W for the main PC, and a 450 for the multimedia computer.

After spending most of the afternoon working on the computers and getting things setup, I began working on setting up the new computer that my in-laws bought. I managed to re-image the computer to factory, and do all the updates and install needed software. Then I moved all their files and settings off the old computer to the new one. Then I cleaned up the old computer and removed all the clutter and made it like new. (Liz’s mom ran home once we got back from CC and got their existing computer). The arrangement ended up being that they got the new computer, and my monitor. Then my brother-in-law’s fiance’ got their computer and exsting 17″ flat panel monitor. So the arrangement worked out well for everyone.

We had Pizza Hut dippin’ strips pizza for dinner, and I also ordered a large half cheese, half pepperoni pan pizza. It was sooooo good, we love the dippin strips, which is only a seasonal thing from what we can tell. I ordered online and had it delivered.

Friday night, we started watching Spiderman 3 and didn’t finish because it was late and the movie was long. So I went to bed around 12:30 something or close to 1am.

Saturday morning we played more wii, and I finished final touches on the computers. Then we started cleaning up the house in preparation for Liz to get home that evening. We had lunch after Liz’s parents left that morning. We got to play more wii and relax a bit before Liz got home. We had the left over pizza for lunch which was still good, we had just enough left to have enough for lunch.

I was just putting the kids to bed when Liz walked in the door. Must have been after 7:30pm and I had just put Michael to bed. So I went and got him back out of bed to say hi to her. I put him down on the floor in his room, and I think he already knew she was home. He ran out of his door and into her arms and just held her for a while. He is such a sweet little boy!

Got all the kids to bed Saturday night, and Liz and I sat on the couch and chatted about our weekends and relaxed a little. It was nice to catch up and fill each other in on all the goings-on of the weekend. She had a great time at her convention and told me all about it. I told her the long story of the computer work for the weekend.

Sunday we had Amanda and her kids over for lunch and the kids got to play for a while and Lizzie and Lina got to play bowling on the wii. Amanda finished a turn for Lizzie, and said it could definately get addictive.

All weekend I had meant to cut the grass, but never found time, I was busy all weekend and never got around to it. Then I took a sick day on Monday because I was getting over some stomach problems that I seemed to pick up over the weekend. I had thought I could try to at least mow the front yard on Monday, but it kept raining on and off all day. It was a weird weather day, it would be sunny outside, but a rain cloud would be over our house, and it would be raining. Sometimes hard rain would come down and it would get grey outside, but then it would stop and the sun would come back out. All day it was like this, so I didn’t get a chance to cut the grass.

Current problem – seeking solution (backup related)

Let me expalin a little about a problem I am trying to solve. This relates to backups using Backup Exec 10 and 11. I am hoping to get some feedback and ideas on a solution, your comments and ideas are welcome. Please feel free to post to the comments on this article.

First, we have servers all over the place and back them up locally when possible. So each major location has a consolidated backup server with over 1TB of hard drive space and utilizes a backup to disk strategy for the daily backups, and then we have a separate archive to tape job which puts the B2D files onto tape. We keep 3 days worth of backup to disk files on each backup server, using media set controls with a overwrite protection period of 2 days so we only ever have 3 days of backups in each media set.

Jobs are configured with backup to disk folders to keep the media in. Now the issue comes as our storage grows, we are backing up more and more data. Keeping 3 days worth of data on the server gets harder and harder. Not to mention we also are currently backing up 3 days worth of backup to disk files to tape each day, which eats through more than one ultrium tape per day.

The goal I am working towards is being able to keep 3 days worth of backup to disk files on the backup server (idea is to have quick access to restore media 3 days back in case something important needs to be restored) but we only want to backup 1 day at a time to tape, so we don’t waste tape storage and have some crazy confusing tape rotation schedule. We use an autoloader with 24 tape capacity, and are having difficulty in maintaining a good predictable rotation.

So does anyone reading this have any suggestions for being able to keep 3 days worth of backup to disk files on the server, but support backing up only 1 days worth of files at a time to tape? Currently the backup to disk folders are created and named after each server.

I also want to find a way to prevent having to use third party software to keep the backup to disk folders cleaned out. Sometimes the B2D files don’t get re-used for a while, they are protected, but don’t get re-used and just sit there taking up space and ultimately eat up valuable hard drive space for nothing. I had been using some external software to clean out files older than 3 days from these folders.

All suggestions are welcome.

Bread making skills

I found out last night that baking home made bread is a lot more work that I thought. I tried my hands last night at making authentic Italian Focaccia bread. I got a nice recipe off a good recipe website and gave it a go. I ran into a few snags, since I didn’t have a few exact ingrediants, but I think my substitutes were adequate. Nothing crazy was missing, just had to substitute bleached flour for where the recipe called for unbleached flour and things like that. Plus the kind of yeast I got was the wrong one but it still seemed to work just fine. I got it all done just after 10pm last night and tasted a little, and it was good. So tonight I plan to serve it for an after dinner snack and share it with friends.

Home improvement stores

I don’t know what it is about Lowes or the Home Depot, but I could get in real trouble at these stores. I went to Lowes on Saturday morning to get a ladder and some little things for the house. I walked around that store for almost 2 hours and was admittedly doing a good amount of window shopping. I came out with my ladder which I needed to fix our playroom roof, and some little odds and ends, but it took great restraint not to go crazy. I wish I could win a shopping spree to a Lowes or Home Depot. Where we are from in the MD/DE area, Home Depot is the best IMHO and Lowes stinks. However in Tampa, Lowes seems to have nicer stores and better selection. There is a really nice Home Depot in New Tampa, but most of them around here are kind of run down. There is a really nice Lowes in New Tampa as well, so we have plenty of choice for our home improvement needs.

Crazy trip to the store

On Tuesday night, I was driving home when I get a call from Liz. She sounds irritated and explains that in an act of clumbsiness while in the kids in the kitchen, she accidently knocked over the box of shells (pasta) that she was prepairing for dinner, and they spilled all over the floor. She asked me if I could run to the store and pickup a box of shells. At this point it was 6pm, and the meal she was wanting to make takes an hour to complete. I tried to talk her into doing something else, but she refused and insisted she needed a box of shells. I reluctantly agreed and stopped by a local store on the way home. I went in and grabbed some banannas too since we needed those, this was in an attempt to increase the amount of money I’d spend at checkout, since I hate coming up to a register and the amount being like a dollor or so, and having to use my debit card since I don’t carry cash.

I should explain at this point that the other day I got tired of my wallett staining my pants and being uncomfortable in general (since I sit at a desk most of the day). So I took my wallett out of my back pocket and put it in my laptop case. Those of you who know me, also know that my memory isn’t so good.

I go into the store and grab the items I need, also grabbed a little something for the kids (ok and me too), and headed to the checkout. I put my items on the belt and reached for my wallett and was horrified to find it missing. I frantically put back the items I had picked out and went out to my car empty handed. I did however spent about 15 minutes in the store looking around and arguing with Liz on the phone about what kind of shells to get. But left with nothing.

I get home and fully expect to have an arguement about what had happened and Liz would rush out to the store to get what she needs on her own, etc, etc. It was not a pretty picture I had predicted would take place. I get home and she meets me at the door with a kiss and is perfectly calm. She had talked to my mom and had decided to do this meal another day. We had something else and it was no big deal. I was totally surprised that she was not going to push it and it actually turned out really nicely, except that I had to put back my cocoa rice crispies I was drueling over at the checkout lane… 🙂

WP Plugin crazy

I’m going crazy with these plugins for Word Press. Its getting late and I still have hundreds of pages of plugins to scour. I wish I had more time. Off to bed now….

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!