Comments Turned Off

Sorry but I’m sick of deleting 30 comments a day from some Chinese guy trying to spam about headphones or some crap like that, and considering I don’t get enough actual comments (or traffic that isn’t spam) to worry about it, you know you can just send me an email or something.

Bah, stupid internet.

Where I’ve Been Lately

Yea, yea, dead blog that has only 3 readers.   Not completely dead, I’ve been feeling more guilty as time goes on and I don’t update, or at least point to where I am actually doing stuff.  Basically now that I’ve been working at Left of the Dot and my commute went down by about 2 hours a day I’ve been able to ramp up my photography business (well, “business” not in the terms of making any money, more “business” in the sense of taking up extra time (and being damn fun)). So you can go over and check out the Bailward Photography.com site and see the site, or check out the Bailward Photography Blog to see various pictures of mostly cute young ladies (hopefully) nicely lit up and posed. I’m trying to create a bit more “real content” there in terms of capturing what I’ve been doing in moving from amateur photographer to slightly-above amateur photographer.


I’ve also been (kinda) active over on twitter if you want to check me out at @alanbailward. Not much of interest there for the most part, but random tweets about photography and related things.


If you’re interested in hiring me of course, or paying me gobs of money to take pictures of you, your family, friends, or more young ladies, feel free to let me know 🙂


Other than that, changing jobs, and having a horrible trip to Edmonton involving moving a horribly disorganized person up there, 32 hours in the hospital (don’t ask), and breaking the truck we were driving back in on the Coquihalla, in a no cell service area at 1am, things have been pretty much status quo.


So hit the new blog, I will update here if anything interesting, it’ll come here, eventually.


Ok, now I feel better.

Day Two At the New Job

Well, this morning marked the second day, and start of the first “real” week of work at my new job at Left of the Dot.  So far so good, though not without some griping and minor failures on my part.  The latter mostly came this morning.  See, right now I have no shower (another long story there for another post) so my brilliant plan has been to wake up in the morning the same time I did for the old job (with the earlier starting time), go to the gym (yay fitness), shower there, then catch the later train out and show up in the office at the required time, everything happy happy.

So this morning I got into a panic at the gym seeing that I was majorly late, and raced like a maniac to shower and get home, then back down to the train station just in time to catch the train, only to realize (after some time I’m ashamed to admit) that I had taken the train in that I did normally, which got me into Vancouver an hour and a half earlier than I need to.  I guess my brain is so programmed to be at the train station at a certain time that it needs some serious re-training to get my timing down with the new schedule.

The rest of it is good so far.  There was the “getting to know you” and “here’s how stuff works” day, and now we’re getting to the point that myself and the two other newbies are able to start looking at how to get some actual work done.  Exciting and new.

Linux Counter Entry, 1999

Hows this for a blast from the past:


All comments: help@counter.li.org
Your record was created: 1999-04-23 05:07:09
Person info last modified: 2006-03-12 08:33:53
//PERSON
name: Alan
usage: Home, work
started: 1998
homepage: http://arcterex.net/blog/
//MACHINE 52939
cpu: Pentium 75
# Interpreted as Pentium/75
disk: 2000
memory: 48
network: Ethernet
source: debian.org
distribution: Debian
country: CA
accounts: 3
users: 1
purpose: WWW server, File server
# Interpreted as File server, WWW server
sysclass: workstation
mailer: smail, Smail 3.2.0.102

[Some entries highlighted for interest]

Wow, P75 with 48mb of RAM and a 2G hard drive, that’s some smoking machine. Course, that 1999 entry was created a good 5 years after I started using Linux.

How You Should and Shouldn’t Treat Your Customers

Two starkly different experiences with customer service today.

First the Good:
Pretty simple here.  I have been looking into online backup services and had let the 14 day demo of CrashPlan lapse without actually testing it out.  Not only are the support people watching their @crashplan twitter account fast and helpful, but they were happy to hook me up with a re-up for my free account before I (inevitably due to their support in no small part) sign up for real.

Last the Bad:
This was an approximation of a call to MasterCard today to ask a quick question about extended warranty extensions with the version of the card I had.  However their automated system and it’s lack of usefulness really drove me crazy.
ringring*
MC: Welcome to mastercard blah blah.  For service in english, press 1, for s
beep
MC: For blah press 1, for account blah press 2, for member blah press 3, blah 4, blah 5, blah 6, blah 7, blah 8 [I’m not kidding here], and if you wish to speak to a customer service rep, press 0
beep
MC: Please enter your MasterCard number
beep beep beep beep .. beep beep beep beep .. beep beep beep beep .. beep beep beep beep
MC: Please enter the primary card holders month of birth, for example, for janu
beep beep
MC: You entered blah, please press 1 to confirm or 
beep
MC: Please enter the primary card holders day of birth, for ex
beep beep
MC: You entered blah, please press 1 t
beep
MC: Please enter the primary card holders 9 digit social insurance number
beep beep beep .. beep beep beep .. beep beep beep [Luckily I somehow have this still memorized]
MC: Thank you, please wait while we connect you to a customer service rep.
ringring* [granted a very quick connection]
MC Dude: Hi there, this is John, can I please have your MasterCard number?  [Emphasis mine]
audible sigh

Now if I’ve just gone through 5 minutes of dealing with a robot with a huge array of questions and entering a ton of different numbers, you’d think that the system would be considerate enough to pass on the information.  But no.  I had to re-confirm my address, SIN number, etc with the guy again (who did apologize mind you, after I made a comment about “didn’t I just spend 5 minutes punching that into your system?”).  And yes I know I probably could have just hit 0 a few times in the phone call, or yelled into the phone, but I didn’t at the time, and ended up pissed off enough at the inefficiency of their system (and impressed enough with the CrashPlan way of doing things) that I got off my lazy ass and typed this post up.

Portrait and Teeth, etc.

Strobist Portrait Been doing a lot of “Strobist” stuff lately, the shot to the right is of the beautiful Terra-Jean whom I had the honor of shooting a couple of weekends ago at a meetup.com gathering of photographers, led by Chris Pike. Great time was had and I got some great shots if you hit that image’s link and wander in and out of the flickr stream. I’m fairly proud of this shot as well of my coworker Cory, not because it’s a great lit image (not that it’s bad), but that it’s all mine, in execution and gear.
Today is also a day I’m not at work because I get to get a tooth taken out. Sucky thing is it’s a fairly prominent tooth, broken in grade 3 in a fall on the playground which has apparently decided to finally die and give me some issues. I would really rather not do this, if for no other reason than that it’s my tooth dammit, but looking at myself in the mirror this morning that tooth is clearly grey and different than the others around it, so I don’t feel as bad.

Snow 2011

Snow 2011 01Well, it took it’s time, but it’s finally here (at least for a bit). We were sitting watching the new (and excellent) Sherlock BBC series when we looked out the window and what appeared to be snowballs were falling from the sky. Turns out it was just snow in huge flakes though. Grabbed my Pentax and took a few shots (here). Glad I have the weather sealing because the big flakes had a lot of water in them. Nothing special, but wanted to record that the snow (finally) arrived. Course, I have a feeling it’ll be gone by tomorrow morning, no matter what the weather report says!

Computer Back To Normal

So it was the power supply, and I didn’t have to resort to spending a ton of money (well, yet anyway).  After installing the new power supply, and finding the solution to my next problem (the system running super-slow with 4 1G sticks of RAM) – installing a BIOS update, everything is back to normal now.  I’ve got 64bit Windows 7 running well, am busily re-installing all my apps and copying data around, and have installd VMWare and have Ubuntu installed to hopefully check the feasibility of using that as an alternative to a second physical machine on the floor.

Oh, and Merry Christmas to my 3 readers 🙂

Windows Done Did Blow Up!

Another day of complete and total hardware failure 🙁  The plan was simple… help clean up the office by converting two computers into one by moving my aging linux desktop (mostly unused except for the occasional consulting project I get) into a virtual machine (using either Virtual Box or VMWare) on my more modern (but still 4 years old) Windows system.  Seems simple enough right?

First thing is that the windows box is only 32 bit, and that means I lose a chunk of the 4G of RAM I have in there.  So my plan went something like this:

  • Upgrade windows 7 to 64bit
  • Copy across settings, re-install programs
  • Create virtual machine for linux
  • Copy across settings, re-install programs
  • Decomission old linux machine

First step was to install Windows 7 64bit on my windows machine. I have a spare hard drive, so I disconnected everything else and started at it.  And it was slooooooow…..  Getting to the first screen took 5 minutes, the second 10, and when I finally did get to the installing part it was going at about 1% every 5 minutes. 

A bunch of reading suggested things like disabling floppy drives in the bios, disabling USB, etc, all of which were tried to no avail.  After about five hours of this I was getting near madness.  Mostly because I’d let it start going, it’d be horribly slow, and I’d say to myself “just let it go, it’ll take forever but it’ll be done”, then 20 minutes later I’d get in a rage that I should have to endure such sillyness and reboot and try another method of making it go fast that I’d found.  Finally I found that pulling 2 of the 4 G of ram out made it suddenly, magically work at full speed.

So now Windows 64bit is installed, booted, and ready to have me set things up.  So I shut it all down, put the RAM back in, re-connected the hard drives (I’d need access to my old hard drives to copy settings across of course), and booted it back up.

Except it didn’t boot up.  The power light on the motherboard went on, but no fans started, no hard drives whirred to life, and my “powerful” (as of 4 years ago) system seemed dead as a doornail.  Still is in fact.  I’ve run through about every troubleshooting scenario I can think of, disconnecting everything, re-plugging everything in, and outside of replacing the power supply (I’ll be grabbing one of those later this morning as all of the “spare” ones I have are old and ancient), my only conclusion is that the motherboard decided to fry itself.

Sucky for multiple reasons.  I do enough photography stuff that I need the “big” computer and the laptop won’t do.  So I want to hold off on replacing it completely with a decked out 27″ iMac full of RAM and hard drive space in a nice shiny box (a very expensive shiny box that is), and I don’t wnat to replace it with a “London Drugs Special” system that’ll kinda do what I want, but be still kinda sucky, and I really hate doing what I’m continuing to do which is upgrade bit by bit and have a box stuffed full of parts.  Bleah.  Fingers crossed that replacing the power supply will work anyway, and the damage will be only about $100 🙁

No Freebies This Time :(

Oh well, guess it’s not always a perfect world in Apple support-land.  The battery in my laptop has been less than steller lately, so I headed to the Apple store armed with this article hoping to get a new battery from them gratis. 

Sadly, it was not to be.  After explaining to the guy there about it, quoting the “80% after 300 charges” spec that they have, the guy hoooked me up to their battery diagnostic and pronounced it was “consumed”, and not a bad battery at all. Unfortunately I had to go through the pretence of being interested before this and found out all sorts of good housekeeping tips for laptop batteries before he got to what I really wanted to know, that is, were they going to give me a free one.

Ah well, guess it can’t turn up roses all the time, and I’ll just keep on using the battery I have until it can’t make it from home to work on a charge and have to look at getting a new one.  Not a huge deal now, as most of the time it’s plugged in at home and I sit in a seat with power on the Vancouver to home leg of my commute.