Monday, June 30, 2008



OK now I'm official, I've gotten the first comment on my blog, of course it was from my niece Claudia, who for that has won the honor of always being my niece (I'm sure if she would have known that before hand she might have kept the comment to herself).


Yep it's getting to be TDF time again, that's Tour de France for most of you out there. It hasn't even started and there's already drama (which is pretty much normal for the TDF these days). First we have Astana not being able to ride, I have mixed feelings about this, the team was dropped last year for doping allegations, this team is a completely new team, except for the name, but the TDF banned them from riding anyway. They are saying it's due to doping, but I think it's also due to the team is actually the same team from US Postal/Discovery and the TDF officials don't like that team (too American I guess).

Today we have Floyd Landis being denied his final appeal on doping for his 2006 win. Personally I like Floyd, he seems to be a good guy and a hard worker, but from my observations, I never saw him ride like he did on that day, it was remarkable, I think he rode beyond his capabilities. I'm not to say he isn't a great rider, I just don't think he's great like that, that ride was something that Indurain, Armstrong, Hinault, LeMond, Merckx could pull off on a great day, and Floyd isn't any of them.

Speaking of Armstrong I saw Bryant Gumbel give his expert opinion on Lance and the sport of cycling. All I really have to say about Bryant is that if all news was good, then he wouldn't have a job. The guy's a hack, he loves to attack and be-little people, he'd probably pull something if he managed to say something nice or defend someone. Lance has won 7 TDFs, I'm not saying he wasn't doping, I'm just saying he won 7 TDFs in a row, I think if Lance was doping then half the peleton was also doping and therefor they were all on a level playing field and even if he was doping, it takes a hell of a lot of skill, strength and luck to win 7 TDFs in a row.

What's really interesting is that after Operacion Puerto many cyclists got picked up (including Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich, if these two could be doping then anyone could be doping). What was also mentioned was that there were both soccer and tennis players on the list, but you didn't hear the details on them, why is that, well because unlike cycling they aren't as big into anti-doping and are much more concerned about their image.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Bird Report...

Our baby birds have flown the coup. I noticed them gone this morning, I thought they were kind of small to fly, but after some research I discovered that Robins can fly in 2-3 weeks (go figure). At first I was being pessimistic and thought a cat had gotten them (the neighborhood cat is Bebo, so I figured Bebo got them), but I couldn't find any dead baby birds or feathers (usually I do find those things), then today while sitting back and chilling with one of the neighbors I noticed a little bird fly into his window 3 or 4 times, then it landed on his grill (which was off, luckily), it was one of my baby birds, it gathered itself and the flew into the trees. The picture here was taken yesterday, there were 3 birds in the nest, I'm assuming all 3 are happy and flying.

Yard Work

I got my daughter to help me remove a tree this weekend. I didn't want to have the tree fall on my weather station (I'm such a geek, right, doesn't a personal weather station == geek?), so I tied a rope to the tree and then used a nearby tree as a pulley to redirect the pull of the rope (I didn't want the tree to fall on my daughter) and then had her pull the tree as it started to fall to redirect the fall, worked perfectly. Then I had her remove the branches and move the tree into the pile I've got in the woods. What did I do (I know you're asking)? Well I worked the root ball out of the ground, man that's tough work, but it's out. Today I went and helped my neighbor pull weeds and lay down weed fabric and then put down mulch in his kids play area (it's always more fun for me to help others than myself).


I added a family news section to my mother's memorial website, it can be reached at It seems that we now have a chef in the family, of course he lives in Brazil, so it's hard to have him come cooking for us. All of us are very proud of our Brazilian heritage, this has become tougher in a country that is starting to alienate non-European citizens. I'm told that I won't be discriminated against, but the fact that I have to show my passport to prove my citizenship is a form of discrimination. Anyway I've gone off topic, maybe I'll talk about social injustice in another blog :).

Friday, June 27, 2008

Doing Things Right!

Wow I had a great meeting with a publisher in downtown DC, the General Manager is just the person this group needed to provide vision and push through a solution to build their online publishing business. What makes him so great? Well it's simple, he understandst that his data is king, that he needed to take his material and convert it from Word to XML format, this makes any future development for his company much easier. It amazes me how many companies don't understand the importance of moving their information into a standardized and portable format. It would be fantastic to work with this group in some fashion, I think that they have a lot to offer me, but I know I have tons I can offer them with my past electronic publishing experience. My biggest weekness in getting the work is that I don't have a lot of "Ad" expereince. I know this is something that I could pick up quickly though (I'm plenty of things and despite my protests that I'm an idiot, I know I'm anything but an idiot).


In the developing good Karma department, when I got back to my car from the metro, I saw some poor guy looking for a spot to park (I've been in that position before), I told him to follow me and I gave him my spot :). I also might have found a position for one of my friends who is also looking for work, I hope it works out for him, he's a good guy (though I'll never tell him that ;)).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day in the life

I had a fun day today, I got to speak with a couple old friends (which is always nice), I had lunch with a recruiter, who I think I helped more than he'll ever help me, but that's OK, when I help people that makes me feel good, and sooner or later someone will help me out :). Had a great ride home with the sun roof open, windows down and music blasting (they played Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo, I haven't heard one in a while). Then I mowed the lawn...


I like to mow the lawn on Thursday for some reason, when the summer started I told my daughter that she was going to have to go out and weed the garden while I was mowing, of course when I get home she gets real upset that I am going to mow the lawn (Last week I told her that she could weed any time or she could weed when I told her to, she decided that she would weed when I told her to, even though it might come at an inconvinient time for her), so she goes out to weed, when she's done I call her over and let her run the lawnmower with me at her side, she was a bit nervous at first, but she knows me well enough to know that I won't back down, she did a good job :). (Boy that was an ugly paragraph wasn't it).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More Bird Pics

OK, Not that I'm nuts about birds, but I do think it's cool to see these little chicks grow, there were just little chicks the other day and they've grown quickly (they're always hungry and the mom/dad birds are always missing and when they do show up always have worms and grubs in their mouth). A couple of times while working in the back yard the mom/dad bird has tried to dive bomb me, they did it once while I was working on the grill, they don't hit me, but it's funky to have a bird heading towards your head ;).

Weekly Wednesday

Well today is our second edition of Weekly Wednesday, this Wednesday we'll go play mini-golf :). I took my daughter last year to a site just down the street from us and it was fun.


Today after our Weekly Wednesday event I will be going to WebContentMavens, it sounds like they have a full house so I'll need to make sure to get there early (I'm one of those people who is always early, I can't help it, I could try to be late and I'd still be early). I need to challenge myself when I'm there to actually go up to people and introduce myself, I'm very bad at that in large groups, it's something I know I can overcome, I just need to do it.


I'm working to pull some of the smaller trees out of my back yard. I probably have around 20-30 trees in the back, ranging from saplings to one full grown oak that's about 3 feet in diameter and about 40-50 feet tall (it's beautiful). The smaller trees I'm pulling out because they seem to be interfering with the bigger trees. I'm also thinking about planting some grass back there (which means I might need to level the yard some and put in a french drain (oh boy the fun). I don't want to spend any money to do this, so it will mean a lot of work, I'm OK with that. Instead of filling up the holes, I'll tear down the hills (which will be a pain). When all is done I should have 1 very large tree, 3 large trees, and about 10-20 medium sized trees (and nothing under 10 feet tall). I don't want to remove most of the canopy, mainly because trees are great for us, but I want to have enough light for grass.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Job Titles

Have you ever really thought about job titles and what they really mean? I'm not very interested in obtaining a specific title, rather than a position where I can work hard and get things done, the only selling point of a title for me is that it gives me leverage to get things done. In looking for work I'm seeing titles such as "Chief Architect", "Director of Development", "Systems Integrator", "Post Sales Engineer", "Sales Engineer", "Director of IT", etc... I am also seeing a few that say "Vice President" (which I think has been replaced by "Director"), the title "Director" can be anything from a job that pays under $40k a year to a job that pays over $150k a year (I like to think I'm the latter).

To be honest I can't figure out where I fit, I think I'm too practical for a "title", I just want to get a job done and done properly. I tend to be relaxed when I work (many people see that as lazy), but then they see me actually get working on the details and see how hard I work when it really counts they realize that I'm just doing my job. I don't see the reason to be hyped up all the time, all that does is make everyone nervous, I prefer people to be relaxed and working hard than be nervous and looking over their shoulder.

I really do enjoy work, not only do I enjoy work, but I enjoy working hard and building products that are elegant in their simplicity ("simplicity" is actually very complex). How do you really convince someone that you can do the job before you get it? I know I can do the jobs that I apply for and I'm sure that with a little mentoring I can do almost any other job that comes my way. I am good at pushing beyond my comfort level, especially if it's needed to get the job done! I strongly believe that the customer is King and I am lucky to be working for them.

Monday, June 23, 2008


<RANT>Like many American's now days I'm upset with our Government, the wars, torture, lies, fuel costs, FEMA lack of response, etc, etc... What I'm really upset with is the waste of money. I look at all the contractors the Government now uses due to their "downsizing" and how much money is wasted due to that and I'm appalled, but even that isn't what I'm upset with. I look at some of the Government workers and their desire to build fiefdoms and ignore their duties as civil servants and I'm disgusted, but that isn't what I'm upset with either. What I'm upset with is that I received in the mail a letter saying that I should be receiving my Government rebate check a day before I got the check, now I can understand them sending that out 2 months ago, but I don't understand them wasting our money in sending it out now.</RANT>

Phew, I feel much better now ;).


This weekend went to go see Get Smart with my family, it was pretty good, I'd suggest you go see it if you can. We also picked up a croquette set, something called speedminton (it's like badminton, but without the net and a bigger racket), and a baseball glove for my daughter. All of this is to get her outside more. We've played all three, my daughter complains when I tell her it's time to go out and play, and then she has a great time playing, go figure.

Croquette was fun because our lawn isn't level and the grass was too tall, so you were either shotting uphill or trying to dig your ball out of the grass. Speedminton was fun, but it takes some time to figure out how to do it and keep a good volley going. I think the longest volley I had was with the neighbor, we had it going for about 30 hits, but she plays some tennis so I'm sure that helped. Catch was OK, but I had to teach my daughter to relax, once she relaxed she was catching the ball, before she relaxed she couldn't catch it.

Computer Troubles

I'm having some computer troubles this morning. First problem was the SMTP server I use was down. I usually log in via SSH with my Ubuntu server, but today I finally got off my rear-end and downloaded putty, now I'm able to log in to the mail server using putty/SSH, once there I need to bounce the virtual server. I'm still not able to get or send email, but I'm betting that there is a backlog in emails that need to go out (sometimes a second server bounce does the trick, but I'd prefer to wait and see if all is going to work out). I've sent an email to my cellphone, it should vibrate when all is working again (I'll give it an hour or so).


To add to this I had a problem with my sound drivers today, it seems that the WAV item didn't un-mute when I asked it to, I've seen this happen before and it's annoying.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lawn Work


Doing lawn work today and teaching my daughter how to pull weeds (she didn't like it), she did a good job with it though. She doesn't like spiders, bugs, dirt, work, etc..., so needless to say there was a lot of griping while she did this. This will be here job for the rest of the summer. My goal is by the end of the summer to have her helping out mowing the lawn. Personally I enjoy mowing the lawn, but I think she needs to learn how to do it herself. I hate the thought of her being in a position where depending too much on a guy to do work for her. For those of you who don't know me, I was brought up by a single mother who did a hell of a job raising 4 boys, she was much more of a "man" than most men. From her I learned that my daughter needs to have ALL the life skills, not just those that society has decided to be gender specific (my daughter will also be learning to do her laundry some.

Baby Birds

Ran across some baby birds while mowing the lawn. When I was finished mowing I grabbed the camera and put on the telephoto lens, then went to my neighbors yard and took these pictures. These are Robins, I knew the nest was there and I saw the parent bird sitting on the eggs for several weeks, so it was fun to see babies. While taking the pics the parent bird came with a bunch of worms and got really pissed at me for taking pictures (even though I was about 30 feet away while taking the pictures). The Camera I used was a Canon EOS digital, the lens is a Canon EF 75-300mm. It's great for taking pics from a distance, it's not great for taking pics that are closer than 10-20 feet. If I had the money I would invest in a lens that had a stabilizer built in. These long distance shots are tricky if you have shaky hands (even if you don't they are tough, I would get either a better lens or carry a tripod with me).

Tour de France

Well I'm sure I'll be landing a great new job soon, you see it's almost time for the Tour de France :). While I enjoy watching to Tour, I'd rather have a good gig. The Tour this year will be launched with yet another controversy. Last year the Tour DQ'd the Astana team for drug use, this year the Astana team is only the same in name, everything else about it has changed and is essentially the old Postal/Discovery squad, but due to the name of the team the Tour is not allowing them to race. What does this mean? Basically one of the best teams in the world won't be able to ride. This will taint this years winner, since they weren't able to race against the best (cycling's in trouble, and the TDF isn't helping out).

People ask me if people like Lance Armstrong could be doping, I'm not sure if he did or didn't, I think Lance is smart enough to do it and not get caught, I believe most people who get caught are either the dumb ones or let their guard down. Personally I think if Bjarne Riis could be doping, then anyone could be doping. I also think that even if Lance was doping, he still worked harder and longer than anyone else and most likely competed on an even playing field. Do I think doping is right? I'm not sure, being a science type I hate to make judgements without knowing the facts, what I do believe is that regardless of whether or not it's harmful to the athlete, the organizers have said that it is illegal, so therefore it should be treated as such.


The meeting at Refresh-DC was interesting last night. I tend to be shy in big groups like that, but hopefully after a couple of more meetings I'll be able to break out of my shell and be the wonderful, lively person that people know and love :). The speech was fantastic, it spoke about Flash and how to use it. The speaker made some good points, such as passing information into Flash via HTML or Javascript, he liked the idea since it makes that information viewable to search engines and such and allows you to build javascript versions of the product without having to replicate data (which is fantastic), I enjoyed it because of those reasons (which I've used before for other issues), but it also takes the developer out of the picture if there needs to be a small change to text (it's all in HTML now, the SWF doesn't need to be modified or recompiled).

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Getting ready for Refresh-DC, it really is fun to be around so many smart and enthusiastic people. I never claim to be the smartest person in the world (OK I might kid about it, but I know it isn't true, there's got to be SOMEONE smarter than me out there ;) ). I strongly believe that everyone is a genius and everyone is an idiot, the trick is to find out what you are a genius at and seek assistance for the items that you're an idiot at.


About to start with my first LAMP project. I won't be coding it, but I will be learning a hell of a lot. I'm extremely excited, I've already pushed myself outside of my comfort area with this project a couple of times and I've succeeded. This is a small project, I'm sure some will think it's big, it's all a matter of perspective, it will be supporting up to 20 countries and millions of dollars of international commerce.

Slow day

looks like it's going to be a bit slow today, though later in the day I'm planning on going into DC for the Refresh-DC event. It will be a good opportunity to both network and hear how other people approach problems. I'll probably also go out and mow the lawn, just to keep busy, I'm pretty much caught up on everything else (if I wanted busy work I could shampoo carpets, but I'm not that hard up for something to do).

I'm pretty sure one of my opportunities isn't going to work out, I saw today that they were still advertising the position, it makes me think they didn't like what they saw in me or the 3-4 other people they had coming in. It's really hard to sell yourself, at least for me, I know I can do what they want. I did offer to help out a recruiter today, I am always up to helping people out :).

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fun Day...


I took my Acura TL in for a recall, the dealer gave me a TSX to use as a loner car, man after driving the TL the TSX is really a big step down. I doesn't have the horsepower of the TL and it just doesn't seem to be built as nice. If you are deciding which way to go, I'd say get the TL.


Went to the USMC Museum in Quantico Virginia. It was interesting, they have tons of very cool aircraft in the museum and many informative exhibits. While I don't agree with some of the wars we're currently fighting, I do support the people who fight them, it's amazing that to think that people will volunteer to go and fight whatever battle their country asks, they are all heros in my book.

Job Search

Still working on the job search, I have a couple of good leads, one that I cast aside (they wanted me for 3 months in Florida, anyone who knows me knows that I'm a mountain man, not a beach boy. The average elevation of Florida is only 100 feet, with the highest point at only 345 feet (Britton Hill).


I got feedback concering the design documentation I'm working on, it was well recieved, but certain portions had to change. I've changed those, I've reviewed them, they are out for internal review right now with others. Once that's done I'll submit them for review by the customer. Then we can get on to the fun of development :).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Should I or Shouldn't I?

Kind of an interesting day yesterday, my dual personalities are showing :). No I'm not crazy (but don't most crazy people think they're sane?) and I'm not a super hero (though I do wear tights when I ride my bike, most people don't agree with me doing that, but I figure that's their problem), instead I'm a person who's trying to decide whether to grow their own business and "Live the Life" or get a job working for someone else. Right now my only concern is the next 6 months, I'm going to push both aspects, if I get another gig for QED, it needs to be significant enough to keep me going.

Now what did I do yesterday? Well here are the personalities:

President - Small Start up:

I met with someone about virtualizing some of their machines, they have tons of machines and most of them sit and use power. I think I also mentally decided to start pushing my own company some more and treating it as if it's a real company. I don't need a lot of work to get through the next 12 months. I don't think this issue will work, but I'm going to continue networking and sooner or later someone will see something and think "Hey Phil can do that".

Job Search Candidate:

I went out and met with a very pleasant and smart recruiter, she works for a growing company in Northern Virginia and hopefully she'll be able to destroy my business and find me a job :).

I did speak with another recruiter about a job opening they had, it looks like that position isn't going to happen. The company wants someone who is very hands on in development and managing (from what I've done I know it's almost impossible to be effective at both).

What's Next?

Well I have a call today with a recruiter, I also have another company that I interviewed with that I need to hear from. Other than that I need to continue my networking efforts and try to push both Philip the President and Philip the Job Search Candidate.

If anyone has ideas please let me know :).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Another Father's Day. On this day I traditionally sent my mother flowers, she was always my father, so I wish her a happy father's day, where-ever she may be. If you want to see her website you can go to

For me, I'm watching movies about racing, about to cook a steak and installing Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft Project Server 2007.

It's interesting that Microsoft doesn't have any really obvious way to install Project Server 2007 on Windows Server 2008. I tried to install the Project Server Trial and it kept telling me that I couldn't install MOSS without SP1, they didn't tell me how to do it. So after a bit of looking around I found one article about how to streamline SP1 into the Project Server 2007 install, basically this means to get SP1 for MOSS 2007 and extract it into the updates folder for Project Server 2007 (you can run SP1 with a "/extract:[path to updates folder]" command and it will do just that, it's very simple, just unfortunate MS didn't make it more obvious.

Anyway it's all and running now, I just need to figure out how to best exploit the software. Why am I doing this? Well I've seen several people want PM's with the ability to use Microsoft Project Server, I doubt they expect a PM to install or manage it, but I should know how to use it. I also wanted to test out virutalization of Windows 2008 Server. My host machine is very slow for this purpose (I've only got 1GB RAM, I could use 4GB RAM), but given the RAM limitations, it's running very nicely.

OK, back to playing for Father's Day ;).

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tim Russert

Wow, talk about amazing to hear that Tim Russert died. I'm not big into a lot of the TV news personalities, I see them as talking heads or someone trying to push their point, but he was always tough on everyone, he really understood what his job was and I think it's going to be tough to replace someone like him.


Well summer has officially started for my daughter and my job hunt. My daughter is going to be bored out of her gorde, I'll be the same if I don't get to doing something soon. It looks like next week will be somewhat busy, one interview in DC with a head-hunter. I always enjoy getting out and seeing people, so that will be good. Hopefully I can impress :). Another interviews is a phone interview on Tuesday about a position in Arlignton, this could be the perfect position for someone like me, but I still have to land it (I need to re-read the job description a few times also). Then my old friend wants to discuss this walk-on role with me, I'm up for anything new :). Thursday night is Refresh-DC (I'm hoping to go, it's a good group of people, I wish I would have run across them before).

I'm kind of tired this morning, so this'll be it for the day :).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Too Busy

My brother was right when he mentioned that sometimes when you don't have work, you're busier than when you do have work. I've been working on getting my laptop back up. After 4 hours of work yesterday and 3 hours today, it's back up to what I think is 100%, though I have seem to have lost my IE Favorites somewhere. I'll need to go back and check for it, I keep thinking it's in the my documents folder, but it could be elsewhere.


My little girl graduated from 5th grade, this isn't something we did when I was a kid, she was happy about it though, and that's what really matters. She's at school right now, we'll go pick her up around noon and go for lunch.


My niece is getting married this summer, I'm trying to figure out the cheapest way to get there, I thought driving might be cheapest, but now I'm thinking it's still flying, my math is with a car that gets 21MPG and $5 gas, but I think those are worse case scenarios. I think the car gets more like 28MPG, so I'll go back and do the math. As it was the driving was only about $300 more than flying and would add an extra week onto the trip. These are some of the problems I like to work on, make no sense, just little problems. I also need to think about taking the TL or the Subaru, the TL is posh and fun to drive, but the Subaru has more room in it for junk.

Job Hunt

I'm not enjoying my job hunt, it's not easy for me to go in and say to people that I'm such a great guy and a smart guy that they should hire me. I think I'm pretty average intelligence, but maybe I take that into relation of the rest of my family, who are all pretty bright, I think in relation to the rest of the country I tend to be smarter than average (I got a 160 on a IQ test I took when I was bored, those tests are fairly bogus though, once you see the tricks they are throwing at you, the test becomes trivial). I've also had a couple of people ask me to join MENSA, but to be honest I don't enjoy sitting around with people who think they are smarter than everyone else, I prefer people who are themselves and only expect others to be what they are.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Toutes Les Choses Italien

Sorry for the non-descriptive headline, but a lot of little things are going down today :).


I should be wrapping up the documentation for my Africa portal today. I've decided to expand on the XML section and I also feel there's something else missing, so I need to re-read it (again).


Boy after loosing my laptop and nearly loosing my work product I'm becoming religious concerning backups. I went out and purchased a Western Digital backup drive that just sits on my network. I've mapped over to it and now I'm copying stuff to it. Of course when I see little devices like this I wonder why they didn't allow you to interface with it better, it's running Linux, so you'd think you could hack into it and make it do more than just backup, maybe act as an email server or a family web portal or something. I've always thought that companies who build consumer products should hire me as their designer (especially car companies, I mean is it nuts to think that when you park your can you can have it sync with a server inside your house to download new MP3s, new videos, mapping, information along with highlights of your route? I know all that makes way too much sense for them to implement, might actually be useful).

Hard Drive

I'm getting my new hard drive from Lenovo today. Their support group has impressed me, it's very good and very keen on pleasing the customer. Of course it could be that I have a product that's considered a corporate product. Dell was the same way for server support, I can't say how they are for desktop support, all my machines are outside the warranty period. Of course once I get my drive back it'll be about 10-20 minutes to install it and 3 hours to rebuild it :(.


I'm working on a proposal for a company to virtualize their development servers. I know how they work and what they have now are 3-6 development servers that are difficult to re-baseline (they could use another 3-6 for development). I'm not sure why they can't replace those with 2 big servers and stand-up 12 virtual servers for testing and development (it also gets rid of boxes, I think all these machines are a waste of time, maybe I should invest in a big machine and virtualize several of my home computers). Big servers are fairly cheap these days, Windows is very expensive, but if you get some big servers (Quad Core/HyperThreaded) with about 8GB of ram, and run Linux on them along with VMWare, you're looking at around $6,000 and a much more flexible system with little risk and huge potential for eliminating future risk.

Job Hunt

I've been introduced to yet another recruiter, I'm kind of torn now between the risk of working on my own and the non-risk of working for someone else. Biggest problems working alone is that I love people (not many people walking around the home office) and two I'm not a great salesman. I also need to put on my list to contact another recruiter on Monday about a possible position with a company in Arlignton (not the best place to work for me, lots of driving, I don't like driving, find it wasteful).


My daughter graduates elementary school today, in my day we didn't have such a thing, we just went to a new school the next year. Now I feel they have to celebrate everything, I guess it's OK. I am very proud of her, she's a good girl :).

Lawn Mowing

Well since I'm telling everything else, might as well say I have to mow the lawn today, it's kind of fun actually :).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


As I read the title above it makes it sound like dinner gave me some sort of bowel issue :(...


Well Dinner last night was fun, the group was from a previous employer, all of us either resigned, were fired or laid off. It was fun to get together and be bitter about our old boss :). It was even more fun to see everyone together and see their successes in new positions. Only two of us haven't found new full-time positions yet, but we're looking!


Well I'm going through my daily morning routine around 6am of checking emails/job sites/applying the latest Microsoft Service Patch to my laptop. After the patches were installed I was asked to reboot my laptop (which I happily did). During reboot I got the ugly error c:\windows\system32\c_437.nls was corrupted and I should try retrieving the file from my install disk, Drats!

The laptop is a Lenovo T60, it's a nice little machine actually, but the install disks install all or nothing or assume that you have a backup (yeah right, what world do they live in?), so I went to the install disk for my Dell (which is labeled "Dell", but it's a MS install disk), well my T60 has a SATA drive, XP won't see SATA drives (very sad), so I had to change my BIOS to run the SATA drive in compatability mode (which reminds me I need to switch that bit back). I got to the hard drive via the XP Setup Recovery application, now to get important files off the machine (such as my email folder and my current work files), but I can't connect to the network or to my USB thumb drive (I could read the thumb drive, but not write to it, very odd). Finally I tried restoring the file (seems there have been other people up on the web with the same problem, so Google quickly gave me the answer I wanted), that's when I got the message that it not only couldn't find the file, but it couldn't find the directory the file was in (which was odd, because I was in the directory), of course this means I've got very bad sectors on the drive and probably have a drive that's going south quickly (I called Lenovo, I spoke with Mark in Atlanta, he was increadibly helpful and promised to send out a new drive for next day delivery). So on to Plan B!


I rebooted the machine in the Rescue and Recovery mode for the laptop, I found that I was connected to the internet now, I could even map network drives, but I couldn't browse anyting (bad...), after clicking around I found that via the "Rescue Files" option I could copy the files I needed off my machine (it's been doing that for many hours now, since around 7am and it's 10:45am now), I'm moving everything to a USB drive on my Ubuntu Server (then I'll make 2 more copies onto other machines). I have been able to get my mail and work files off (I'm able to use them on my Vista machine). Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to get my new drive install the OS on the laptop for the second time in 2 weeks and have a nice and happy machine again.


My other piece of hardware that's gone south is my Dishwasher, after fiddling with it some and getting the major leak it had develop to stop, I noticed a few days later that it had started leaking again :(, my best theory is that the heater coil, which has a nice crack down it's length, is warping when it gets hot and causing the gasket that's holding it into the diswasher to work loose. So I ordered a new coil ($45 for next day delivery from Sears, where Lenovo seems to have the customer's best interest in mind, I'm going to have to start thinking about shopping from Sears, at least for big ticket items, I shouldn't complain too much, they replace the 12 year old axe that broke for free), which should be coming in today, I will then be able to hopefully install the coil and have a dishwasher that's nice and happy again. I've become somewhat of a coil expert with this issue :).


Well I should also mention that after so proudly saying that I got an XP print server running on my Ubutu box via VMWare, seems that I've run into a snag. It seems that when I try to print on that machine I get a very nasty BSD on the virtual XP machine, so I've shelved that idea for a little bit. I should also mention that I had problems getting VMWare to see the USB devices, but after a bit of research I found a way to mount the USB devices so VMWare could see them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Design Documentation

Today should be an interesting day, I'm creating wireframes for a design document that I'm writing for my Africa project. The wireframes are meant to be a very simple explaination of what the end-user will see on the screen. As I develop these wireframes I'm realizing links I forgot to describe and such, so I need to go back to previous wireframes and update them. I'm hoping that I don't have an idea that needs to be updated on all of my wireframes (that would be tough). I'm also working on the documentation to go around the nice graphics that I am making.

Mental Time-Out

I need to take some time today for a mental time out. I'm a person who loves to be working hard and lately I haven't been doing that. I need to get out on my bike for a couple of hours and just work myself ragged. I will also be going out tonight with some friends from the subcontractor I used to work for (boy that was a mess, in a month and a half the 10 people I worked with in the shop had either resigned, been fired, or laid-off, I was laid-off. It wasn't because they weren't making money, it's that the owner was a mess and treated his employees like dirt, if I hadn't been laid-off I would have resigned).

Job Hunt

The Job Hunt is continuing, though I'm starting to loose track of it and starting to think about what's next on my plate (which isn't a lot). The Job boards aren't doing great for me, but I'm checking them often. I'm not sure what the problem is, while I have run into some excellent recruiters, I've also run into several that should be taken to task for not taking their position seriously, they are dealing with people's lives after all. I do have a couple of leads that I need to get in touch with, I am also waiting to hear back from a couple of companies in the area, but the who job hunt bit is very depressing, anyone else out there in this mess I feel bad for.

Monday, June 9, 2008


OK, I know I'm blogging away, but this is just my first day, give me a break ;). I'm sure I'll calm down soon :).


I'm sure like most people in the world the economy and fuel prices have got me concerned, where is this country going and where has it's leadership been? I think the US has become more or less like Enron, it's more concerned about the people at the top than the actual people doing the work. While it's important that the people who take the risks in life get the reward for their risks, it's also important to not loose track of the people helping you. I think the leaders have lost track of the people helping. What to do about it? Well hopefully if all goes well the American people will rise up and change the leadership in November (little thing called elections). I personally think that both candiates have a bit of a rebellious nature that should keep both of their parties on their toes.


OK, I'll admit it, I'm not the most green person in this world. Would I like to own and drive a big Hummer, you better believe it! What I am though is very practical, I won't drive a Hummer until I have need to drive a Hummer, I have a very nice car (2004 Acura TL), I plan to drive it for another 10 years or so.

I like computer hardware, but I hate the waste involved (if you get a chance to go to a hosting center, go and sit next to the exhaust of the computers and feel the heat, then realize they have to fill the room with Air Conditioning to keep things cool and then think that they have many thousands of these rooms in the US), what I enjoy more than computer hardware is setting up virtual machines on one really big and really redundant server. Most of the processes that run on standalone servers could be virtualized with little or no issue, at home I needed a print server that could also handle scanned in material, so I loaded VMWare on my Ubuntu server, installed a virtual XP box, that just sits there and handles all the printer throughput, if I have to scan something, I just map over to the virutal XP box and pull the scanned in material. Once I get more RAM on my Ubuntu box I'll look into loading a virtual machine to handle my phone system or email or just to pay with (these boxes are great for development, since you can back the device up by copying the machine's image, then when you need a new environment, you just copy the baseline backup). In my previous life I consolidated 5 machines into one big machine and 3 virtual machines, to be honest it was very very cool.

All Is Not Lost!

I do have some bright rays of sunshine in my work life. I'm currently working on a procurement portal for a conglomerate of countries in Africa. While this work should keep the lights on and the mouths fed for a few months, it's not the long term work that I need or desire.

Since I'm a nice guy and because I could use the work, I'm building a website for the business of one of my friends. They are selling trike motorcycles, very high end bikes. I've told her if they do well she can give me a trike as payment, otherwise I'm doing this work for free because she's a friend.



Wow, where do I really start? Maybe a brief introduction will do. My name is Philip, I'm a recovering Mathematician with a lot of good abilities in the IT world. I had been working for a small company in Alexandria Virginia since 1991, we mostly built electronic publishing applications, what is now called content management. I decided to leave the group after a change in ownership, the new owners (which included me), who had been good friends of mine and had worked for me as employees, changed a bit under ownership, the place that was my home was now very foriegn to me, so in the summer of 2007 I left the company, it was an increadibly tough thing to do, but I had to go.

What Now??!!

Before I left my former company I had signed a non-compete, bad move on my part. I did speak with the current president of the company to get his permission to seek work from one of his customers, he agreed as long as I didn't try to get work from their internet side, it was OK for me to work on the up stream of their publishing, mostly XML to XML work. Well second bad move, I didn't get it in writing, I arranged to get some work from his customer, I asked the customer to OK it with my former company and next thing I know I'm getting a letter from their lawyer saying I'm in breach of contract, you know I'm not the kind to do that, I just wanted work and money to feed my family, I didn't want to harm anyone, but instead they decided they wanted nothing to do with me.

After some small jobs I finally landed a great position with a federal contractor as a project manager for a very large government portal. I was very busy all day, hardly had time for lunch (which was fine by me, I could use to loose some pounds), my program manager was incredibly impressed by my work and was getting ready to offer me a job when.... DHS denied my clearance, it was awfully strange since it was the day after I submitted a form saying I was a foreign born US citizen and that my mother at the time was not a US citizen, but my father was. They also would not give me a chance to appeal their decision, since I was a contractor. This really hurt because I'm an incredibly honest guy, I love working hard and I'm smart enough not to do things like look up the passport records for presidential candidates, but I guess DHS didn't see it that way.

What Now Again??!!

So it's back to Monster, Careerbuilder, Dice, Washington Post, TheLadders, VisualCV, etc... None of that is really working. I'm getting tons of spam, I've sent out 1000's of resumes and have been through 5-6 revisions of my resume, I've been to networking events, called old friends, etc... I have been getting some calls and interviews, but they mostly want someone who's got 3-5 years experience, not 18 years experience (not sure if they want someone young or cheap, I figure both).


I'm not a great interviewer, having been within a small company for several years I didn't keep up with the naming trends, so when people talk about content management, I think of what content management was 10 years ago, now it's a bit different. I also didn't get a lot of skills in some of the newer languages and since I've been managing more than coding, my coding skills have withered to being very bad :(.

I'm kind of stuck in how do I tell people in an interview that when they hire me they'll get someone who's got their back, who'll go the extra mile for them, who will exceed their expectations? I've never been great at giving myself a pat on the back and making myself stand out.