Monthly Archives: February 2004

We want the funk, gotta have that funk….

Hmmm… Last few days at work have been pretty calm, which is pretty cool. Everybody’s been in and doing their thing, so the workload has been light. Works for me. Chris was doing some upgrades on MRTG on one of our monitoring servers, and broke one of the setups that I had made to log activity on the servers. It wasn’t really a big deal since I made something new and better to replace it. Well, I am in the process of making something to replace it. The prototype works pretty well, but is kind of inflexible in its current state. I’ve been meaning to finish making it, but I kinda lost motivation. Well, when Chris broke MRTG, I had some motivation to start development again, so I’ll probably doing that over the coming weeks.

Speaking of development… I really have to ask what combination of drugs the Microsoft developers were on when they wrote the code that displayed the message below. I saw this when I was trying to listen to some guitar clips I recorded in windows media player… Strange shit. I guess shouldn’t have cut the blue wire when trying to disarm that bomb the other day…

stupid error message

I’ve got some more guitar clips up for the three people who would actually care… They’re kindy funky in nature, and sound pretty cool with the guitar upgrades. The combination of the low B string and the new pickup configuration makes for a really cool sound, almost like a bass, and when I pick the strings hard, it yields a sound similar to a slap/pop sound on a bass. Sounds really cool.

Clip 1: Funky 1

Clip 2: Funky 2

You know that new sound you’re looking for?

I got bored today after my nap (that will most assuredly cause me to not fall asleep until waaaay to late tonight), and decided to record some audio clips of the new guitar setup – with the new pickup and the different string configuration. I made two recordings – the first one is clean, testing out the different pickup layouts. The first is just the TBH60 humbucker in the bridge position, second is the new Fender-Lace Sensor in the neck position, and the last is the combination of both. They're seperated by big open power chords, so if you didn't hear the differences in tone, listen for inactivity… 🙂 The second clip is me jamming with distortion, and having fun with the huge sound that the low B provides. You'll probably notice a common theme throughout both clips… I am pretty damn repetitive, even when I'm just goofing around, playing the same forms over and over again… well, that's because I'm not very original. Second, you'll probably hear pretty easily when my 'train of thought' changes and I stop and start playing something totally different. Oh well… There's probably nobody who will listen to this anyway, except Phil… he wants to hear how his pickup sounds in my guitar.

Clip one: clean

Clip two: distortion

Mundays…

Yah, I had a case of the Mundays today… and so did Steven. That's because we were the only ones manning the support lines in Liquid Web's hardened underground bunker today. A scheduling quirk was responsible, so it's nobody's fault, but it still sucked. Mondays are our busiest day on average, so only having two people really was not fun. I did get the chance to learn some crap about osCommerce today, which is cool.

I finally did something productive towards getting the Carvin back in better playing shape. Phil was gracious enough to let me use a pickup, since the middle and neck pickups on my Carvin were shorted out and pretty much useless. He gave me a Fender-Lace sensor, and I stuck it in the neck position. It was pretty late when I got it installed, and I had already got one request from the neighbors below to try to be quiet, since they were studying or something. Therefore, I wasn't about to be all loud, so I'll have to try it out tomorrow. Funny story associated with that though… After I finished installing the new pickup, I realized I only had 5 strings because I had cannibalized the high E from the last pack because I broke the previous high E long before it would have been worth replacing the whole set of strings. That left me with a bastard set of strings, so I went over to Marshall Music and got some new strings. What I failed to notice when I was buying them, and even later when I was putting them on the guitar, was that I bought a package of strings for a 7-string guitar and not a 6-string… I had the low strings (B, E, A) all on the guitar when I noticed I had 4 srings left. I felt pretty stupid, but I thought it would be pretty cool to try playing with a 7-string flavor, even though it would only be a 6-string plus the low B and minus the high E. It sounds pretty cool, and with the extra high E laying around, my bastard pack of strings is again complete! I'll just say that I meant to do that. I'll post some pictures of the pickup layout soon, somewhere. Maybe on the as-of-yet unedited guitar page, or in the photo gallery somewhere.

More humor for your Monday

Ok, so it’s the very end of your monday, but I thought this shit was hilarious. The first part is an actual conversation Steven had with some random guy who saw his AIM name somewhere on a web hosting forum. Wow. So stupid.

(10:17:03) lame person: hi
(10:17:59) steven: whoisdis?
(10:18:17) lame person: robertas from cpanel forums. can you host sites for free
(10:18:48) steven: nope.
(10:18:53) lame person: why
(10:19:10) steven: Why can’t host website for free?
(10:19:19) lame person: why can’t you
(10:19:43) steven: Because we would go out of business hosting websites for free.
(10:20:55) lame person: but please can you host only my site for free
(10:22:15) steven: If we host you for free then we have to host other people for free and if we start doing that we will go out of business and no one will get any hosting from us at all 🙁
(10:22:41) lame person: but please…. I really need hosting
(10:23:06) steven: We really need to stay in business 🙁
(10:23:21) lame person: yeah. but please…. Just think about it
(10:24:12) steven: Why would we consider hosting your website for free?
(10:25:02) lame person: because I really need to
(10:29:34) lame person: so please host me
(10:30:19) steven: I’m sorry. We can not host websites for free.
(10:30:37) lame person: why? you won’t go out of business
(10:32:00) steven: Our service here at Liquidweb is top notch. If we start giving services away for free it would degrade our service level.
(10:32:17) lame person: so what
(10:34:02) steven: The high service level is very important to our customers. This is why people pay us for hosting.
(10:34:30) lame person: and why can’t you give me free hosting to only me not to others. nobody will know
(10:35:11) steven: Why don’t you want to pay for hosting?
(10:35:25) lame person: I don’t have money. that is the problem
(10:37:27) lame person: just please host me for free… I beg you
(10:39:47) lame person: so please
(10:44:54) steven: can’t do it. sorry.
(10:45:05) lame person: why
(10:45:22) steven: I think we covered that already.
(10:45:41) lame person: yep. but please… can you make a special offer
(10:45:50) steven: no.
(10:46:10) lame person: can you install cpanel
(10:46:46) steven: I am capable of installing cpanel, yes.
(10:46:58) lame person: free?
(10:47:22) steven: Only if you are a current paying customer.
(10:47:36) lame person: but for other servers can you?
(10:48:27) steven: For a fee of $100 per hour I can install cpanel for you.
(10:48:46) lame person: why? why is it so much? Why isn’t it free
(10:52:11) steven: This is our standard consulting fee for working on servers outside our network.
(10:52:28) lame person: but why? it takes only an hour
(10:54:38) steven: We are all highly trained professionals here at Liquidweb. Our time spent outside of our normal work is worth money. In fact, I really don’t have the time to continue this conversation.
(11:14:31) lame person: ok

The second one also came from Steven… what can I say, he’s good at making me laugh. I want this program, yo!

w0rd!

Another boring weekend

Yah, the title says it all. I didn't do much of anything this weekend. For the most part, I just sat around the apartment doing nothing noteworthy – playing guitar, dinking around on the computer, watching movies, etc. Really exciting stuff. I did help out Steve with some computer crap. I also got my wireless card working with an open source driver instead of using DriverLoader. Now I can run Kismet and see the status of my wireless card and stuff… stuff that wasn't possible using DriverLoader. Hats off to the guys at prism54.org!

I know it's an old and well-worn tale, but I need a girlfriend. I'm entirely too lonely. It sucks a lot when 99% of the people you know have significant others while you sit alone lonely watching TV, just waiting for something to happen on an internet matchmaking service. Quite sad really. Such are the doldrums that are my life.

I fell on warm days

Hmmm… updates are coming in few and farther between these days… perhaps that's because there really isn't too much going on these days that merits talking about. The past few days at work have been much calmer than the past few weeks have been in general, which is kind of strange since billing ran on Sunday. Normally the first few days at the beginning of a billing cycle are pretty hectic with customers calling in about the various billing issues. I won't complain. It also seems like a lot of the customers we've been signing up have got the initial support issues like email setup out of the way and are going on with their business as usual, which we can definitely appreciate. I found out the other day that I'm not going to have to work midnights next week, which is sweet. The two week idea caught on with some of the other guys as well, and with the way the scheduling worked out, I don't have to work midnights until the end of april! How awesome is that?

Today was quite plesant in my world… work was slow, and we finally had temperatures above freezing!! Yup, today Jack and I renewed the warm-day habit we created last year around this time of throwing snowballs at stuff while the snow is melting and perfect for packing. I've got that “damnit you threw like 30 snowballs after not throwing anything for months” twinge in my shoulder, but I don't care. Even though it'll probably get cold again after a few days, I don't care – I saw grass for the first time in a long time today. Days like this remind me that spring and summer aren't too far off.

Yet another monday…

Yes, mondays suck, no doubt about it. They tend to give you that nasty “damnit it's 7:15 am and my alarm clock is going off, I don't want to go to work today” feeling, which is a real drag. I love that saturday morning “yes it's not a weekday I can go back to sleep and wake up when I want” feeling, which sadly, only really happens twice a week. It's been a while, and Kate's probably pissed because she didn't have any new stuff to read while at work, so I'll try to remember all the crap I did over the past few days…

Thursday… who knows… I can't remember, so it couldn't have been all that memorable.

Friday my sister came up and dropped off her computer so I could give it an upgrade. I gave her my dad's old hardware, the stuff that I thought I had torched but really didn't. I went out and bought the necessary supplies – case and new CPU fan – and also bought something totally unnecessary and expensive… a new Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro. Yah. That one soundcard, the one with the really long name and the external box thingy that rocks… but yah, probably the most expensive one on the shelf too. Who cares… I'm single and just got a raise at work, so I can splurge a little. Well, I could splurge a little. Now I can't spend any money for a long time, or at least until my midnight shifts are over – more on that later. After I got my sister's hardware upgraded, I went out with Joe and some of the other Liquid Web guys to some bars in Lansing, and had a great time. We hit up Stober's first off and killed off quote a few pitchers there. The wait staff was few and far between there, so we ditched over to Moriarty's, which had much prompter service. It also had a band playing, which is really sweet, especially since the guitarist was really sweet. He played in kind of a non-standard way though… He played lefthanded, but had the strings set up in the righthanded fashion, which definitely blew my mind once Phil told me to watch for it. He was really solid though – lots of chops, and a pedal board I would love to acquire. Apparently Phil knows the guy from his travels throughout the bar scene, so when the band was done playing the guy sat down and had a few beers with us and shot the breeze… very cool.

Saturday is kind of a haze since I was pretty much hung over until around 8pm. I could have taken some tylenol or something, but screw it, I'm tough… or something. I finished up the rest of my sister's computer upgrade and after she took off with her computer I tried to get the new sound card to work in Linux, but was not successful. My attempt at getting the sound card to work was cut off by, well, work. I was still pretty spacey, so multi-tasking was pretty hard. I finished the software setup for two dedicated servers in addition to the normal support stuff, so I was pretty busy. I probably would have much more able to get things done had I not been hung over, but cest la vie.

Sunday morning I tried for a while to get the sound card working in linux, but I had about as much success in round two as I did with round one. Seems like neither the OSS or ALSA folks have made 2.4 kernel series drivers for it, and I didn't feel like trying to upgrade to 2.6 just for sound, so I threw it in the windows box and moved that out of the closet and back to the desk. So now I have the sound card working in all of it's glory, but I still only have a 2.1 speaker system, when the card can natively support up to 6.1 at least, maybe 7.1. Crazy. I went to my parents place for most the afternoon to help my sister get used to her new setup and to help my dad with some networking troubles he was having with his new cable modem router. I got both of them working, and spent most of the remaining time on a recliner watching the History Channel, which I don't get here at the apartment. Stupid facist Comcast, makin prices all expensive and shit… Aargh.

Today was a monday, but not a bad one. Work wasn't too bad… could have been a lot busier. Like I mentioned before, I'm working the midnight shift next week, and I'm probably going to try something out that I had suggested in one of the meetings – work two midnight weeks in a row instead of the single one. I thought it would be a decent thing to try because it seems like every time I've worked that shift, I get accustomed to the nights on about friday night, which leaves like, one day of the shift before having to get used to days again. I figure working two night weeks in a row might make the pain of adjustment and readjustment a bit lighter. It will also make for two huge paychecks, but it will also mean working 14 days in a row. I'll be ready for a nice break after that. I should be able to use that time to work on my monitoring system for the servers at work, a project I've been meaning to get working on, but haven't started yet. Two weeks of night shift will probably make a good opportunity to get that in progress.

Obligatory Guitar Solo

Nothing really noteworty to report on the events of today except that Matt proved to Steven and I that it is possible to sniff packets over a switched network even if the traffic isn't directed towards you… Guess that shows our naievity. I guess Steven and I were living in the land of THEORY where sniffing anything but your own traffic isn't possible, but in practice it is due the lovely layers of the TCP stack. You can't sniff switched layer 2 traffic unless it's directed to you, but you can fool layer 3 into directing traffic to you, which makes it real easy to sniff. Oh well… Matt wins, this time.

On a completely different subject, I've been noticing a different trend as of late when it comes to the guitar and what I've been playing on it. Ever since I started playing the guitar, I've always been quite content just playing rhythm stuff, laying down the foundation that the song is based on, not really choosing to be flashy in what I play. I've pretty much pulled a 180 in the last few months though. Every time I pick up the guitar and plug in, I'm not really interested in playing the same old power chords over the same old songs anymore. I've been playing completely random stuff off the top of my head, and it's mostly lead-type stuff. I wouldn't believe for a second that I'm actually good at playing in that style or that I have 1% of the musical knowledge and passion that I would need to actually sound good, but I'm doing it anyways. Perhaps it's just because I'm so incredibly bored with playing the same old Metallica and Megadeth songs that I've played hundreds of times… bored with the small palette of sounds that I've made on an instrument that's capable of so much more. Who knows. I'd like to get back into a more regular habit of playing since I've kinda become lazy with it. It's hard to believe that I couldn't be more creative with the music that I play if I worked at gaining some more knowledge and skills. I had a glimmer of originality when I was playing today… a lead lick that sounded very cool to my ears and wasn't something that I just mindlessly replicated from some other song. It would be sweet to be able to do that with regularity.

Layout Update

I updated the layout of the site a bit today. The colors and general appearance are pretty much unchanged, but the feel is a bit different now. The site has a slogan now too!

Mike vs. Responsibility… MIKE WINS – FATALITY

Yah, that was yesterday. I passed out on the couch friday night really early… probably around 9:30, after some dinner and a few beers with Joe Doss, so my ass was up really early yesterday morning. I woke up first at about 5:30, but was like “hell no!” and went back to sleep until 8:30 or so. I had planned on being responsible and getting some stuff done like laundry and grocery shopping, but Joe stayed at his parents place after his night shift, so I went all out. I ended up cleaning my room and the rest of the apartment, vacuuming the whole place, cleaning up the kitchen, doing my laundry, bought groceries, and got a soldering iron. I needed the soldering iron to fix my computer subwoofer and pedalboard. The subwoofer had cracked solder leads on the signal plugs, so when the sub was hitting hard the right speaker would just cut out due to the poor connection. So I fixed that. One of the power cables on the pedal board needed some work because I kicked it one night after coming back from the bar, and I busted one of the plugs, which needed to be replaced. Pretty easy once I had the tools. All in all, a very productive day.

Once I was done being mister fix-it, I set down to converting my workstation over to fluxbox like I'd done on my laptop. I guess it's a testament to what a Linux dork I've become… I'm totally gravitating to the minimalist kind of interfaces. Kinda funny, because about a year ago I was still Mr. Windows with a few linux servers for file and web serving, but now I'm Mr. Linux with one dedicated Windows box and Windows install on my laptop that I only really use for games. Kinda funny. I've been getting quite a few people looking at my resume searching for people with experience with some of the Compuware products listed there and MS SQL server, and I've even got a couple people asking if I'd be interested in jobs in those areas. They'd probably pay better, but I'm really not interested in touching that stuff anymore. Viva la Linux!