A job as it were

This past week I was offered a job, after the interview of course. It is a part time job but it is in the field I tend to work in so it will be fun. As I lost my job at the end of January, this has been a long time coming. I can’t wait to start work this coming Tuesday.

Learning to Program

Well, this is an interesting thing, I decided to learn how to program. I figure I will start learning how to program C# first and maybe one day learn another language like PHP. I have already got most of a test environment set up on my other server. It is running VMware ESXi Server 3.5 u4 since the processors are only 32bit and version 4.0 only supports 64bit. Anyway, I am trying to get a Sharepoint VM setup and I have ‘Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Standard’ installed on my workstation. I got it when I went to a Microsoft event back in 2008. I am also having to read a book on ASP.Net 2.0 programming in C# so I can wrap my head around it. Hopefully this will not make my brain hurt too much. ๐Ÿ™‚

Batman: Arkham Asylum

I downloaded the Demo for ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum’ and just got done playing a good 30 minutes or so worth. I can honestly say I like what I see so far. What makes it even sweeter is that the voices of Batman, Joker, Harley Quinn, and many others are voiced by the ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ actors. That means that one of the best voices for Joker, Mark Hamill, is doing the Joker voice. Anyway, like I said, you should try out the demo and see if it is your cup of tea. If I had the 50 bucks I would purchase it for my PC. I will have to be happy with the demo for now and I bet the same will be true when it is released toward the end of August.

Windows 7 RTM

I have been using Windows 7 RC1 for a little while on my laptop, as it’s only OS, and for the most part I think it is ready. There were a few issues I noticed but hopefully they got them ironed out before they put the code to RTM(Release to Manufacturing). Honestly, if you held off getting Vista but want to upgrade one day, wait until 7 comes out. It does take care of some of the nagging issues of Vista and overall seems faster. If I can afford to drop the coin necessary to get it, I will soon after it is released.

My website

If you come here every so often you may have noticed that the ‘http://weblogs.smock.com/jacob’ URL now forwards to www.lackofpants.com and the look has changed a bit. I am converting this to my website/blog. I plan to be adding more sections in the future. For right now it is a simple layout with some cosmetic bugs which I will work out as time permits. On the main page is the image that was originally a placeholder on the lackofpants.com domain.

Ghostbusters game so far…

I got the game Ghostbusters on my computer for Father’s Day. I am enjoying it a lot. It has a lot of fun parts so far and is getting harder to stay alive. I do have a few nitpicks about it though. One is the save ‘feature’. It goes by checkpoints, which I find kinda irritating. I had to refight a few things due to this feature. There is also no multiplayer mode on the PC release. The missing multiplayer part does not really bother me so much as it quite a bit of fun on the single player mode. I almost did not get it installed as it almost would finish installing then the installer would crap out. I ended up finding where it was ‘installed’ and created a shortcut on my desktop for the game executable. Most games now days have a few weird wrinkles bug wise. I figure, and hope, that they fix some of the more glaring glitches that have come up and tweak it a bit more. This game honestly makes me think back to when I watched the first GB movie and wanted to be a Ghostbuster. It would be badass now too but almost dying often enough would kinda get old after a while. ๐Ÿ™‚

My son is 2

Most people know by now but my son has turned two. Due partly to my lack of employment his party was a rather small gathering but my boy had a good time. That was the important thing. As part of his turning two we converted his crib bed to more of a big boy bed. We will see how he takes to it within the next week of use.

Been a while

Looks like it has been a while since I last added to the blog. Not too much has happened since the previous post. My Son has been walking and talking for a little while and he is doing good on the training with the toilet. That in itself is a good thing.

Back in January I lost my job at Glacial Energy and am looking right now for another one. Lets see if I can keep up with this blog this year.

Serpentine belt blues or My Hell is Serpentine

Well, yesterday I had truck problems. For a while my A/C compressor has been having issues with the electronics so I unplugged a sensor so the clutch would disengage and go into free-spin since the compressor was stuck on the ON position. That worked for a while until yesterday. I was in the drive-thru of a Jack-in-the-Box that is attached to a Shell gas station and when I was told to pull forward my truck decided to die. I figured it just hiccupped or something like that. I tried to start it and my truck squealed then died again. At that point I figured out what happened. Nobody was behind me so I pushed my truck backward to get it out of the way. It was still in the way of people wanting to get gas. I decided to see if I pulled power from the compressor maybe it would free itself up. I could not get the red plastic pin off that was holding the power plug together. A guy came by and offered help and was able to get that sucker unplugged. That of course did not free it up. After that he got the idea that since the belt was crap now anyway, I may as well try to get my truck totally out of the way. I figured, why not…

I got back into my truck and swallowed hard as I prepared to start my truck and then hurry up and back it into the space that happened to be behind me. I got the truck started and revved the engine and put it into reverse and backed it up. I got it in place and turned the engine off. Thankfully I did because the belt was about to catch on fire from that little bout with friction. It was smoking at the point of the compressor. I thanked the guy and he went on his way. I ended up thinking that while I figure something out I may as well be where I can look up prices for parts and all that jazz. I was down the street from my mother-in-law so I gave her a call. I spent a few hours over at her house and I ended up calling my father to tell him the fun news. He offered to help. He does not live in Houston so he had a drive ahead of him.

I got dropped off back at my truck and my father came on by. We started to look closer at the truck and noticed it has a belt run diagram with a method for running the belt without the A/C on the run. We figured it is worth a try. The bad thing is that there was no standard belt size documented without an A/C that would work at either Advance Auto Parts or O’Reilly Auto Parts. We ended up cutting the bad belt and mapping out the run with the old belt. On the 5th belt or so we got the right size and tested my truck. It took us around 5 or so hours total to get this knocked out. Nice thing is, we did not have to purchase a compressor for an A/C that was broken for other reasons, which would have been a waste of time and money. I drove to work with my truck today. It has run nice and quiet so far.

Uninstalling Exchange 2007

Normally I am fine with Exchange, being the resource hog it is, but I was having to uninstall the damn thing the other day and it was being a huge pain. Let me set the stage, I had an Exchange 2007 server running as a VM and I had another one that was running full on the hardware of another server. I wanted to keep the latter one and remove the former. The problem was, I had to remove all replicas and everything else before uninstalling. I got everything removed except something that was replicating in the Public Folders database. I never could get it to replicate fully. For months off and on I was looking for answers that would not leave me hacking away at the low level parts of Active Directory. I finally found instructions that made some sense. Move the replicas. Well, I ran the script from the ‘Exchange Management Shell’ and it finished. I checked the status with another command and it showed it was not working still. There was nothing important in the database so I read that you could delete the database when it was not mounted and then when you remount the database it would recreate the public folders from scratch. I figured it was worth a shot. After it recreated the database I did the move replicas again and that seemed to move them. It did take a little bit before it was done. After that I deleted the public folders database and I was able to uninstall Exchange and remove that VM from the domain. Normally I do not get very upset at the little odd Microsoft quirks but man, that really did irritate me a lot.

Sandwich, MA

Back on April 20th I took a plane to Boston and spent a week in Sandwich, MA(which happens to be in Cape Cod). It was work related so I did not have much idle time to see the sights. The flight was not much fun as it was over 3 hours each way. I did like the temperature up there. It stayed nice and cool the entire time. if only the South Texas area had that kind of weather constantly…cool weather I mean, not the snow that MA has.

My Son is 1

It is hard to believe that my Son is one year old today. It actually does not seem like too long ago I was holding him on his first day out. He has learned a lot and so have I. Heck, in a few years he will be old enough to go get a job. ๐Ÿ™‚

Windows 2008 exposure

Not too long ago I went to a Microsoft Event to learn more about Windows 2008 and of course get a copy of it so I will be able to set it up and learn about it even more than I already knew. The reason I said ‘already knew’ is because not too long before I came to the event I was able to work on Windows 2008 Standard up at work. I got it running on a new server and it will be our Terminal Server.

It has a few new features that I find very useful. One is the TS Gateway. It allows you to use the Remote Desktop Connection to burrow through a TS from the Internet using only port 443(https) and either connect to the TS itself or to other servers(and workstations). Of course you can lock it down and it actually works rather well. It works the same way that Outlook 2003 and 2007 fully connect to an Exchange 2003 or 2007 server safely over the Internet. It uses what is called RPC over HTTP(s). Let me just say that the TS Gateway makes things easier on the remote connection front. No need to mess with VPN bs or anything like that. Of course you would want to always make sure the TS Gateway is up to date. The TS Gateway requires at least RDC version 6.0. Windows XP SP2 with the RDC update or Vista come with it. Part of the settings are under the advanced tab on the configuration portion of RDC.

Anyway, another neat trick is something they seemed to have swiped(at least the idea) from Citrix. You can have a Web page, authenticated and encrypted of course, set up to share programs. This works well and allows you to run the program from the TS like it is running on your workstation. It even natively supports Dual Monitors. It is actually called RemoteApp. It is a bit more limited than it’s Citrix counterpart but it works just fine for regular usage. It does not support sharing applications per user. When you share an application, all users that are allowed to bring up the RemoteApp can run those apps. One glaring irritation is that the RDC version required is 6.1(partially due to the ActiveX plugin that comes with that version only). It currently is not being released as a separate product or update. It is part of Vista SP1 or XP SP3. SP1 for Vista has been released and seems to work well but XP3 has not been released but is scheduled to this month. We will see how well XP SP3 works…

Long time no see

It looks like it has been a while yet again since my last post. I am still doing great at Glacial Energy and keep finding more to tinker with. My son is doing well, it is nice to be a Father. When I am not working or trying to spend time with my family I try to sleep a little. I have not had time for any real side projects in a little while. I plan to make some time for some, in other words… less sleep. Nice thing is, I usually can go a while on little sleep before I crash and burn. Up at work I have been playing with DRAC cards on the Dell servers. I have seen them before and know of the Compaq/HP version of it but never got to install and configure one before. Anyway, time to end this post… later.

A while it has been…

I know it has been way too long since I have graced the Interweb with my presence. A lot has been happening these past few months that my blog lay slient. I will start with my Son of course. He has been doing great, he is a very good natured baby so far. He smiles a lot and will laugh often enough. He is eating solid-ish food along with his soy formula.

On the job front, at the end of July I took a new job at a company called Glacial Energy. It is not a bad place to work and the responsibilities have increased compared to the job with Wells Fargo. I enjoy the responsibility so that is always good. It is also more along the lines of what I like to work on and do. I manage the network, the servers, and the workstations. Of course I also do the helpdesk part of the job, which is not bad. It does help that most of the people that I talk to are of a nice sort so it makes the troubleshooting a rather calm affair. I am slowly trying to improve the way things are done and optimize my job as to make things easier on everyone.

Now, on to some of my hobbies. I have of course ‘mastercontrol’ as the AD server here at home with ‘zoidberg’ running a RAID 1 setup using two 230GB drives. I have a third sitting around just in case one fails. Unfortunately ‘zoidberg’ currently seems to have a problem when it comes to uptime; which I may have found the solution to it. As usual my mind seems to revolve around the computer and related topics and so most other hobbies tend to take a back seat. I do want to work more on my chess playing and get back into trying to learn the guitar. I have some natural talent with chess but no music talent at all so the latter will be a bit harder to do.

I got a bicycle from my niece Jessica and her husband. I have kept finding excuses to not fill up the tires with air so I can exercise more. I need to start because when I look at my Son I do sometimes think of what would happen when I depart from this rather buoyant body I am attached to. If it were to happen before he is grown then that would of course not be a good thing.

As you can see I have done a bit and have been mulling over a lot of things recently. I know I ought to update this blog more but time is not a luxury that I seem to have a lot of.

Being marked

Well, it’s official. This morning my son gave me his personal rinse. My wife, Nicki, was going to bathe him and so she got his diaper off and handed him to me so she could get the water going. I was holding him just fine and then he happen to cut loose on me. Thankfully it was only pee and not the other, not to be described, stuff. What made this even more ‘special’ was that I had just finished showering and shaving and had some clean clothes on. Needless to say I had to take a second shower and look for clean clothes. Nicki told me it would happen one day. I guess I can now be part of that ‘Peed on Parent’ club.

The birth of our child

Well, my wife had our child on April 17th, 2007. In a C section way so she has to recover for a few days. He is 8 pounds 9 ounces and is 20″ long. His name is James Paul Smock. I am so happy to be a father. It truly is one of those kind of feelings that are hard to describe. I will talk more on this subject soon.

Honeymoon pictures

As you may have known, I moved hosting late last year. I had everything backed up but not everything got restored. I finally got the Honeymoon pictures imported into our little gallery. Click here to go check them out. It will open a new window.

Getting closer

It is getting closer to the due date for that youngin of mine to come out. Of course he will come out when he is ready so it may happen sooner. He is of course due on or around April 27th. I am really looking forward to raising a child. I know it is not all fun and games, but I know it will be a blast overall.

It’s a boy

Earlier this week we went for the latest batch of ultrasounds and the nurse that was doing it said that our child is a boy. Looks like I may need to purchase some cigars soon for the big day. Also, Merry Christmas. You know, this should be a good Christmas…

http://pictures.smock.com/
Go here for the newest ultrasounds.