Account NOT Suspended

Thanks for the texts :) the site is back up now.

Bea had not posted in a while and when she did it seems the little web spiders wanted to crawl all over that site and woke up some kind of hidden robot… bots they tell me are causing the issue.

The back end database for wordpress does not like to get too many hits too quickly so when that happens there is an auto suspend on the account so that the whole web server does not go down. We have some new pluggins that should take care of that issue and I need to do some clean up on the old web server and get rid of some old blogs we don’t use. Maybe this is a sign that spring is coming!

If you have numerous hits on your site and you run wordpress, do yourself a favor and install the WP-Cache pluggin. It will save you some headache.

Phoenix is DEAD!

Well, since the mythical bird cannot really die, it actually turned into ashes and I don’t have to rebuild it any time soon. Phoenix was my main computer for a little over 6 years in its various iterations. I think a couple of different processors, various memory chips, at least 3 different video cards and a hard drives have passed through that case with the pretty blue lights. Thanks to my wife’s assertive nature, we went ahead and purchased a laptop that is pretty powerful and will handle my gaming at home and on the road. Now the question is… do I rebuild phoenix or simply turn it into a pretty server with some storage drives.

I am sicks of Windows. Especially now that I have been using Windows 7. I have found the new OS to be a lot more of the same, just with pretty graphics and less annoying messages than Vista but I am not really sold on the new software. I am sorry but I am not one of those “I’m a PC” commercials with the “pretty” egos that invented the new features seem to be.

I am more Ubuntu which is my favorite Linux distro and one that I want to play with some more. I want to store all of my MP3 and video on a machine that I can easily remote desktop to, and once in a while maybe play some music out of it to some outside speakers on the deck looking at the river. So I think Ubuntu will do just that and tons more. So in the near future I will spending some quality time with my old computer and taking it apart and building it as a little Ubuntu machine. Not a dual boot mind you, but an actual official Ubuntu machine at home serving us for storage.

I also have not decided completely if I will do a complete salvage or start with all new components. The video card and power supply are only about a year old and could be reused. I am leaning towards a solid state drive and use it as an additional gaming machine in the future. For now I will enjoy the laptop and rest knowing that I was able to get all the data I needed our of phoenix in time. I guess this is as good as time as any to remind everyone to back up your files, specially documents and pictures. Burn them to a CD or DVD. Five bucks will save you a lot of regret later on!

Huge KILLER Dolphin!

First I want to start with a disclaimer. Why? Well, it has been a while since I wrote about someone’s death and I want to make sure that while this post will be satirical in nature, I don’t mean it to offend anyone, their memory, or bring more pain to their family. So, with that said, if you are related to the poor chick that was attacked by the whale I beg you not to keep reading because what I am about to write will be completely insensitive to your loss and I seem to be on a roll pissing people off.

Orcinus orca is a marine mammal from the dolphin family; I am no expert but thankfully my wife is. I wanted to be an expert growing up, since Marine Biologist was what I wrote on all of those “what do you want to be when you grow up,” right next to veterinarian. But that did not happen and I chose to go the computer geek route. So in language that is at my level of understanding, an Orca is a huge animal that somehow got the reputation killer… even a movie made about it which I saw as a kid. It probably somewhat steered me away from a life near the sea altogether.

When Steve Irwin died getting to close to marine life, I wanted to also rant about it… but I thought better of it back then and left it at one line. Today I cannot let it go any longer, especially after a report this morning informed me that previous situations in the park had lead to warn the people that run the place that the attack to a human was only a matter of time.

People love their pets a little too much at times. I am one of those people. I have become attached to the cats that share a household with me quite a bit, and when they do go it’s going to hurt like hell. They are domesticated animals, and to me that means that they won’t eat me unless I die first and they simply have no food. I do have to be dead though, and they have to be starving; however it is very unlikely they will take my life. I like being around those animals.

Then there is the second tier of animals that I see people keeping, but start questioning their sanity. That is animals that can actually kill you or your loved ones. They will be all the animals that to me are not domesticated, like things with fangs and venom and primates. Yeap, primates too, they get violent and can kill you but especially your kids.

Then we cross the “have your head examined” line. The people that actually seek these animals in the wild to swim with sharks. I somewhat understand the adrenaline junkie mentality because I would not mind running with the bulls some day… even though I don’t think I can outrun a calf. If I was to get trampled or someone gets chomped on by a shark, they totally deserve it… that is natural selection working its magic.

I am not a fan of zoos or aquariums because wild animals should not be kept in captivity, in my opinion. I have gone to them and I will accompany people to them, but I feel sad when I see amazing animals for humans to just gawk at. Now, if it is for conservation purposes that is another story. Humans should not be around predators, period; especially in captivity. I might be way wrong but I cannot believe a wild animal is happy to be in a cage. Yeah, those pretty “habitats” are just for your pleasure that most of them don’t enjoy past visiting hours. Even trained people get hurt by them all the time, and I think they are insane for loving animals that much that they want to be that close every single day.

Like Steve Irwin I think Dawn Brancheau died doing what she loved, but her employer should have discontinued the proximity between humans and the whales after they were warned of the danger. Seaworld, and even her family and friends during the funeral, wanted the show to go on. I am not as extreme as PETA, but I do agree with the flipper trainer on wanting to conserve marine mammals. It will never make sense to me that people have to be that close to animals that can kill you.

O Canada!

This weekend I witnessed one of the most exciting hockey games of my life.  I don’t even know half of the rules, I still think of soccer when I hear offside, but I enjoyed the game a lot. Maybe because some of the best players on either side are Blackhawks and it makes me think, this might be the year? But it was just a display of playing hard every single minute of the match.

I wanted to watch the game with my wife who wanted Canada to win, of course, but I wanted the U.S.A. to go all the way. I think the match was played a little more aggressively by the American team, and Canada played a superb defense. It ended in overtime after Parisi scored a last minute goal that made a whole country wonder if they had just seen the gold escape them.

In very Hollywood fashion Crosby came back to be the hero for the nation by scoring in during sudden death leaving the Americans with silver, which is no small accomplishment.

I am happy for Canada. Crosby and company got it done! Congratulations!

What am I Worth?

Twice during my work history I have taken a pay cut under the promise of a better career path, and it was a bad move in both cases. I would also like to mention that the time I took a job for an unreal amount of money in the consulting world, it was also a big mistake. After the company made tons of money off my fixing their mess, they found me too expensive. So I guess that was a wrong move as well… it was sweet for 6 months though.

Before I start talking about money I want to say that I am extremely happy with my current position even though it is not anywhere near the highest that I have been paid. Finding a job where you are doing something you enjoy doing will make your day feel better. Do not buy into the idea that you are not supposed to like your job, the moment you do that, you are compromising your well being and that of the people around you. Does everyone love their job? probably not, but you at least have to like some aspect of what you do because you will end up doing that for a huge percentage of your life. Always keep that in mind.

Now that the economy is turning around and more doors are going to start opening it is the time to be very careful about taking a job. As tempting as it is for someone that has been out of a job for a while to take the first thing that comes along (well and some people don’t have the luxury to say no) if you are in any position to keep looking and say no do so.

It is very hard to climb back out of a low salary. Every company you interview with will ask and check your salary history and make a decision about your pay based on that number. No matter how much you explain that you are worth a lot more, the reality of the situation is that you are probably worth more to the new company you are going to, but not significantly more.

While there are always exceptions when you are taking on more responsibility and such, in the end the company will try to get you as cheap as they can. At least in my experience you can get back up quickly if the company will give you a salary bump after a trial period, but always make sure you get anything like that in writing. And not just electronically, have it be part of your offer letter.

Never be afraid to ask during the interview about the companies compensation policy. Make sure you understand if the offer includes benefits on the final amount, and calculate what your actual take home will be. Some companies figure your benefits into the offer… and at the same time some benefit packages can be worth about 10K. Do they give cost of living adjustments every year? or are raises far and few between. This information is crucial to your negotiation period. Also be very aware of how they measure performance. Many companies do not have clear guidelines and your reviews, which most pay increases are based on, end up being very subjective and sometimes even unattainable. I still chuckle at the company that measured my personal appearance when I hardly ever saw any clients. Thankfully I love wearing a suit and tie and got an easy top mark on that one.

The first step in the negotiation is knowing how much you are worth. Research the title that you are shooting for and look for salaries around the area. If the company is offering you significantly less than what you are worth, pass on the offer. You are entitled to counter offer just like when you are buying a house. Once you figure out what you are worth strive for it. Climbing out of a low salary can take a long time.