Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 8

I open the door and there you are, gazing back at me with the same longing I have. Slowly I wrap my hand around you and feel your icy cold body. It shocks me but invigorates me just the same. I nestle my thumb under your tab and firmly yet gently pop your top. The snap, rip, pop is such a distinct sound I smile. Then I feel it, those little bubbles tickling my wrist. As I lift you to my mouth I feel such a rush of anticipation. You hit my tongue and I close my eyes in Ecstasy.
I gulp you in, your bubbles almost burning my mouth. Ahhhh, sweet heaven.

I quit caffeinated soda pop on Monday March 7th - today is day 8

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pacioretty and Chara - March 8th, 2011 Hit

It's not often that I write to an organization and complain about something someone said, did or what have you. It has to be pretty heinous for it raise that kind of ire in me especially in today's violence numbed society but this one really pissed me off. So much so that I wrote Sportsnet about it. On March 8th in Montreal there was a violent hit on one of the players (Pacioretty) by a Boston defenseman (Chara). Chara basically rammed Pacioretty into the glass partition otherwise known as the turnbuckle. His neck is broken.

I am appalled at Spector's comments regarding the March 8th hit on the Hab's player, see below. I bet Mark believes that a woman asks to be raped too. This is just the kind of Neanderthal behavior that turns women off to Sportsnet.

Below is the excerpt from Spector's commentary:
Mark Spector of Sportsnet wrote about the hazards of that part of the rink … but felt it was Pacioretty that shared the personal responsibility for being there:
In Pacioretty's case, the smaller Canadiens forward had a running grudge going with Chara. He knew it was there, after opening the feud with an ill-advised shove after his overtime winner by Montreal on Jan. 8. Pacioretty never backed down from Chara, yapping and sparring with the giant Bruins d-man over the course of the next two games.
Now Pacioretty is coming down the wing. The score is 4-0 Montreal, with seconds left in Period 2. He knows Chara wants to crank him. He can see the partition coming.
Pacioretty had every reason to believe he was entering a very dangerous spot, yet he went in there like a defenceman turning his back to the ice, counting on the rulebook to protect him.

Give me a fucking break. You cannot tell me that this 22 year old young gun of Montreal's thought that by squeezing by Chara on the boards when the puck was no where near him that he was taking his livelihood and possibly his life in his own hands. He'll be lucky if he ever gets on skates again. Spector, you are the biggest arse in Canada, bar none.

Where I originally read Spector's comments --> here

If you feel that you are offended, here is Sportnet's phone # --> 888-451-6363
Here is where you can email them --> here
Here's Chara's apology....if you can call it that.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

10 Reasons for Not Being in Information Technology

Some of this was shamelessly stolen from a TechRepublic Blog with my own twist but it is nonetheless poignant.

1: Stress

It is very stressful job. No one calls you to tell you everything is wonderful, they only call you when something doesn't work and usually it's an emergency (perceived or real). The farther up the food chain in IT you go the more critical and huge the emergency is. Also adding to the stress is solving your friends/relatives/neighbors computer issues. If you recommend, fix, or even touch any of their computer/audio/video items then you are forever 100% responsible for them.

2: Hours

If you want a Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 job, look elsewhere — IT is a job you carry around with you 24/7. Again, the farther up the food chain you go the more this becomes a reality. One doesn't do major upgrades during the day, forget that, they are only done at night when no one else needs the network. And the people who aren’t your clients or users (friends and family, for example) will want to take advantage of your knowledge and keep their computers running smoothly for free, when you get home at night. Also, you must keep abreast of all the latest technology so you can keep your job and your friends happy - read and study at night, in your spare time.

3: Getting paid

If you are an independent contractor, one of the most stressful issues you face is getting paid. I can’t tell you how many consultants I know who have had to make threats or use an attorney to get paid. And when you’re freelancing, if they don’t pay you, you don’t eat. If you're not independant you always feel you're underpaid because of item 2.

4: People
(in general)This one I hate to mention. That is not to say that people, in general, are bad. It’s just that when you have your IT hat on, people seem to look at you in a different light. You are both savior and sinner in one stressed-out package.

5: The chain of command
Let’s face it. Not many higher-ups understand your job. They think you should be able to get everything done on a shoestring budget, with no help, and you should treat end users as if they were better humans than yourself. And to make matters worse, the higher-ups want you to magically make those PCs last for more than a decade. This misunderstanding of both duty and technology does one thing: It makes your job impossible. Not all companies are created equal of course, my current one actually is not like this at all. The one before that was the epitome of it.

6: Technology
Have you ever had those days when it seems like the the technology GODs hate you? I have those days more often than not. There are the occasional days when you are the winner but especially in the Windows and Microsoft world the losers far outweigh the the winning days. There are days when even an entire bottle of wine cannot erase the pain of having a piece of silicon, sodder and plastic beat you.

7: Competition
One thing you can count on — there will always be someone better than you, especially in the IT industry and especially if you are one of the few women. The longer you remain in IT the more it becomes apparent that it's a young person's game. Being mentally and physically agile to work long hours, keep sharp, take classes on weekends, read technical manuals, keep abreast of everything new, renew your certifications is exhausting. Not that us older people can't hang as frankly, experience accounts for a lot, but we tend to have a different take on life, like family, downtime, relaxing..... You know, having a life. Another thing is the constant oneupmanship. IT people, especially men, just need to be right. After awhile I just get tired of putting them in their place and showing them they aren't - I am..... Yes - competition, it is as fierce in IT as it is in basketball and the egos are about as big.

8: The cloud
Every time I get an email about some cloud seminar or read an article about how putting software, hardware, data and everything else into the cloud is the way to go and the demise of the American IT worker I just want to scream. Part of me is wondering what I'm missing and what I don't know, part of me is wondering if I should be in the cloud and if the cloud is safe and the other part of me is laughing as it's all in the bloody cloud already. I'd like to pound the marketing idiot who dreamed up the catch phrase "the cloud". From techrepublic, "Clients and end users want the cloud to be some magical experience that will make all their work easier, better, and faster. If only they knew the truth."

9: Lack of standards
There are none, let's face it. We have the IETF, the IEEE, the RFC's, the OSI model, the ISO standards and on and on it goes. But still - their are mountains of proprietary hardware/software vendors that want to keep their product closed up and non-compliant, otherwise, how would they differentiate themselves and make money? This means that I need to know way too much information.....and run in to compatibility issues at every turn.

10: Respect
The general public has a bad taste in its mouth for IT professionals. Why? Many reasons, consumers have been burned by the Geek Squad, home users cannot figure out why they have to pay for Microsoft Office every couple years, call centers in India, you name it, IT companies who don't deliver on promises or companies that think they were promised one thing and got something different.... Oh sure, when you walk in the door you are their best friend but the moment their issues is resolved and they get the bill they wonder why it costs so much. Jeesh, I don't know - it if was easy then why didn't you do it? And why is it my fault that you should buy a new computer every couple years? And why is it my fault that your five year old computer is running slow?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Farmville on the Bleeding Edge?

Have you ever played Farmville on Facebook? Or Frontierville? Or Mafia Wars? These type of games require the game hoster to capture and relate everyone's actions in the game to each others.
This produces a database approaching a petabyte in size. How much is a petabyte? One petabyte is equal to 13.3 years of Hi Def video or 20 million 4 drawer file cabinets filled with single spaced pieces of paper. One petabyte = 1000 terabytes. Basically, more than you can imagine.

Some background on Zynga, the creator of Farmville, Mafia Wars and a few other very successful facebook games. Zynga hosts 250 million active visitors a month to it's games. How in the world does Zynga make money you ask? Well, let's take Farmville for example. There are about 31 million players a day on Farmville. Zynga sells in game coins - these coins allow players to differentiate their farms from the masses with special items, flamingo-shaped topiaries are especially popular. These coins are sold either direcly online through the game (just give me your visa card or Paypal account), or via game cards (available all over including even grocery stores). 7-11 even had a promotion for awhile on their slurpee cups. Redeem the sticker on the cup for special items. You can imagine how much revenue Zynga made just from the royalties on the cup!

I know - you're asking yourself, seriously, do people really pay for in game virtual items? Yes, they do. This has been going on for years now. I remember paying about $20 on ebay for a set of very cool virtual armor for a good friends birthday for her to use in the online role playing game, Asheron's Call. Back to Farmville - let's say that Zynga manages to get a penny a day from those 31 million people. 3.65 x 31 million people = $113 million a year. That's a lot of revenue. Multiply that by the number of games they have and they are making some cash.

These games are using some very state of the art technology for managing all that data. Farmville uses a new data management system based on open source called CouchOne. Stupid name..... So yes, Zynga and other game makers have overhead. Servers, datacenter costs, maintenance, large Internet pipe charges, and a team of designers to keep their cash cows (pun intended) interested in the game by constantly updating the game with new challenges, items, and what have you.

Solar Update

It's weird I know, but I like going into my backyard and watching my electric meter run backwards. I get such satisfaction out of it. We have yet to figure out if our electric bill has gone down because the DWP (Los Angeles Department of Water and Power) didn't officially put the meter on the grid until early January and they bill in 2 month increments so my satisfaction could be misplaced. You'll note that I was feeding electricity back in to DWP's grid and they were getting it for free.... Here is a picture of our energy production for the month of February. Keep in mind, February is a short month and it rained quite a bit during that time. Interesting to note that even while cloudy we are generating electricity.