Friday, January 29, 2010

The joys of being a techie

Apparently, when you have a sub-directory underneath FTPROOT with a given name, and you also define a named FTP site alias using the same name as the sub-directory, it helps if you actually point the FTP alias to the full physical path, instead of just back to FTPROOT.

I just spent a loverly 30 minutes trying to figure out why a "cd \path" wasn't doing anything, but a "cd path" was (note the missing backslash in the path).

Ah well, at least it's working now.

Is it the start of another political dynasty?

or just another family squabble in D.C.?

"Genealogists said Friday the Democratic president and the newly elected Massachusetts senator, Scott Brown, are 10th cousins.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society said Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and Brown's mother, Judith Ann Rugg, both descend from Richard Singletary of Haverhill, Mass."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Um, hello? It's city equipment.

It seems that a fire-fighters union here in NKY doesn't like the new ambulance.

Their primary argument is centered around concerns about lawsuits being brought under HIPAA patient privacy regulations.  However, I believe this is a red herring.  They just don't want to be recorded.

I find this very similar to a story Jay G posted the other day about cops not wanting GPS units installed in their cruisers.  I think some of the same arguments apply here.

It's city equipment.  They have a right to install monitoring equipment to protect the city, its employees and its citizens.  Further, as the city attorney pointed out, HIPAA doesn't bar videotaping of patients.

Besides, to me it seems that the medicos would welcome the video equipment.  It gives them solid evidence when they are accused of medical malpractice.

Just another case of the inmates (unions) running the asylum.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The new government health plan

It seems that with the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, the Federal Government is having to revise its proposed health care bill.

While it appears that they've given up on a complete overhaul, they are still looking to "bend the curve" and find cost savings in the industry.  Well, I guess you could call them cost savings.  They're also apparently trying to increase Federal revenues to pay for the program.  As has often been repeated, one of the problems with the current medical climate is that there are a lot of unnecessary, agressive, procedures performed.  Some have characterized this as "defensive medicince".  There is a body of literature that shows that normal, everyday prophylactic actions are just as effective as using the latest name-brand treatment.  As such, there is a push to return to commone-sense approaches to the treatment of illnesses and ailments.

Never one to let a good crisis go to waste, the current crop of legislators in Washington have decided that another tax is appropriate.  Just like any sin tax that they've already instituted, they've also decided on a self-medication tax.

Their number one target?

Aspirin.  Acetylsalicylic Acid.  Generic pain relievers.  Over-the-counter medications.

There are two reasons for this choice of a new class of products to tax:

  1. It's a conservative approach to treatment
  2. It works
 I'll be here all week.  Try the veal, it's excellent.

EDITED: It has come to my attention that some individuals felt that my previous version could be considered racist.  That was the furthest thought from my mind when I penned this missive.  In fact, I abhor racism in all its forms, and personally did not consider the joke to be such.  I honestly thought that I was merely tapping into a latent sentiment in the populace.  Perhaps that sentiment has elements of racism at its core.  So, considering that, I've reworked the joke.  If I offended anyone, I sincerely apologize.  It was absolutely not my intent.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The mail came, the mail came!!

Okay, I'll admit it.  I'm usually not this excited about the mail because it's usually just bills and junk mail.  Sometimes I have some cool geeky kit coming, and that's always fun.

But today, I received something I've never ever received in the mail before.  It's an absolute first for me, and it's something I've been working on for 17 years.  So, without further ado:

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Wedding has been canceled?

I certainly hope not!!

From their website, Christian band The Wedding reports that:
"In San Antonio, TX around 1-3pm our van was broken into, evey single computer and contents in the van and all backpacks were stolen and not covered under insurance. This includes personal information and thousands upon thousands of dollars of items."
 Very much not cool.

Another Massachusetts miracle?

As Jay G would say:


Paging Mr. Murphy. Mr. Murphy, please answer.

So we moved to the greatness of Northern Kentucky about 4 months ago.  Once it started getting colder, the missus noticed that wonderful aroma of gasoline in the cabin of her van.  After a little poking and prodding around the internet (hey, I don't know enough to poke and prod under the hood), it seems the general consensus is that it was most likely the fuel pressure regulator leaking.  It seems that cold weather exacerbates this condition.

We finally found a mechanic with good references and got the van in this morning to be looked at.  Sure enough, the fuel pressure regulator does need to be replaced.  Apparently, so too do the injector o-rings, the upper manifold intake gasket, a coolant hose, a missing motor mount bolt, and one or two other things I don't remember at the moment.  Oh, yeah, we also had a small oil leak we wanted them to locate.  Turns out the oil pan gasket is bad and needs to be replaced.

Grand total will be just south of $1,500.


Four or five years ago my response would have been, "Well, time to shop for a new vehicle."  However, my attitude has slowly changed (and been changed) in the interegnum.  The vehicle is paid for, and has right at 110,000 miles on the odometer.  We did have to have the upper intake manifold gasket replaced around 60k as well, and the mechanic indicated that it's a pretty common repair on our vehicle (Chevy Venture).  So, I can shell out $1,500 and have a vehicle that's pretty good to go for the next 3 - 5 years, or I can take on a car payment.

Let's look at some numbers.  We bought this van for about 18k used, so I'll run with that for what it would cost us to find another quality used vehicle that meets the needs of our family.  My bank is currently offering auto loans on used vehicles at 5.69%.  If I finance for 60 months, that's $347 a month.  Over the loan period, I'll pay out almost 21k.  Or, I can pay out the $1,500 and get it repaired.  That's the equivalent of 4 of those loan payments, and I'll still have a paid-for car.

Yeah, sometimes I get the itch to have better/nicer/fancier wheels.  My wife sometimes gets feature envy seeing some of the newer vehicles with power sliding this, and power folding that.  Heck, I do too.  But ya know, both of my vehicles are paid for.  In fact, we don't have any debt at all right now.  No credit cards, no car payments, no student loans, nothing.  Now, that does change in about 6 weeks when our house is built but even then, the only debt we'll have is the mortgage.  Oh, and we have almost enough in our emergency fund to pay for the car repairs.

Long story short?  Cash is king, and I have (newly) found aversion to debt.  It's amazing how much money is left over at the end of the month when you're not sending it all off to the banks.  I like it much better than having too much month left at the end of the money.  Instead of taking on more debt, I'll get the engine work done now (~$800) and in a month or two I'll get the oil pan gasket fixed.  If I time it right, I'll just do that instead of the next scheduled oil change, and kill two birds with one stone :)

So, Mr. Murphy?  I know you knocked on the door, but I don't feel like answering right now.  I'm too busy getting on with my life.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

*tap* *tap* Is this thing on?

After spending so much time reading other blogs, and shouting my own opinions at my monitor, I've decided perhaps I can inflict my twisted sense of the world on others.

So, welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere.

[EDIT] Oh, and I should point out that the existence of this waste of your time is primarily the fault of MArooned.