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Blog Archives for August 2006

So how's married life?

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 - Comments (4) in Life, Wedding

I get this question all the time at work now. Most of the teachers haven't even been back yet, so I can't wait to see how often I get asked once school starts. It really isn't any different, which I guess is actually pretty good. We've been living together for a few years, so I didn't really expect much to change after the wedding.

Database Shitfest

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 - Comments (3) in Computers, Life, Rants, Work

The title says it all; it's the best way to describe what is going on at school lately. We have an enterprise-esque database system at the center of our school. This DB has its fingers in everything: scheduling, transcripts, grades, attendance, admissions, general ledger and all sorts of other stuff. It was (and still is) functioning fine, but is slightly out of date. We stopped receiving updates more than a year ago and nobody noticed. Then this summer we discover we are at version 803 when the current version is 816.

Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, but I'm having a hell of a time trying to get up to date. Not only are we trying to update the actual data and the programs accessing it, the server hardware itself will be replaced once the update is successful. One of the problems is the fact that this is a production database and is in use about 101% of the working day. Sure I can kick people out of it for a while, but a few people's jobs revolve around accessing this database so I can't keep them out for any length of time.

What I've been doing is kicking people out, copying the data to the new server and then running the updates on the new hardware. This way I can put the old server back in action if there are problems upgrading. The first time the update failed about 10 minutes after I started. It started barking about some missing column in some table. I called the support line and they had me send them a copy of the database so they can figure out the problem.

A couple days later they get back to me saying they fixed the problem. Today one of the support people successfully updated the old data I copied over the first time. So I try running the update on a new copy of the current database. Guess what happens? First I ran out of disk space on the drive that the data was held on. There were so many changes to the data to bring it up 13 versions it created thousands of log files (to keep track of transactions), each being around 1mb, and filled the disk up. I noticed this when I went back to work around 5:30pm today to check on the update progress. I made some more room and tried the update again (3rd time). Yup, failed again. At least this time it was in a different place and I was able to get the error messages. I forwarded them to the support people along with another copy of the database.

This update has been a real pain in the butt. I have to work around about 6 people's schedules, wait for the support people to figure out the problems and find time to work with them. And this is all on top of the 10000 other things that I have come up since the middle of August and need to be done by the start of school (8 days).

Wedding Pictures

Monday, August 7th, 2006 - Comments (0) in Life, Wedding
Our wedding pictures are finally all online! You should check them out: http://joereid.com/weddingpics/

Honeymoon

Monday, August 7th, 2006 - Comments (2) in Life, Wedding

The Tuesday after the wedding Rachelle and I left for our honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. We stayed at the Melia Caribe Tripical resort in Punta Cana for 7 days. It was a pretty good time!

Flying is not on my list of things I like to do. The biggest problem I have is wedging myself into those small seats. I'm too cheap to pay for first class, but we discovered the joys of the exit row on this trip. Exit row seats actually have more leg room than first class seats. It made the 5 hour plane ride totally bearable.

When we got there I was a little surprised at the airport. It looked like it belonged on Gilligan's Island; totally open, palm leaf roof and security probably never even considered. We had to walk down the tarmac past a bunch of other planes to get into the actual airport. Transportation from the airport to the resort was included in our package, so there was a car waiting for us when we go there. It took like 40 minutes to get there because this guy had to drop off another couple at a different resort. It was scary, people there drive like maniacs. There are entire 4 person families riding around on mopeds and motorcycles (with no helmets) while buses and trucks are flying around them, no lines on the roads and everyone tailgates like it's the latest fashion.

Once we arrived at the resort we tried to get them to upgrade us to Royal Service (RS) for free because it was our honeymoon. They weren't playing ball. So we ended up paying for the upgrades ($70 a night per person more) and it was well worth the price. Once they charged my credit card they took us from the check-in desk out in the heat into the RS private check-in area. It was air conditioned and they gave us mimosas and chilled washcloths to cool down with. Being in RS also afforded us all sorts of cool stuff that the regular guests don't get. We got a private pool and restaurant, free internet access in the VIP lounge instead of $5 per 20 minutes in the Business Center, our own private beach, shuttles basically anywhere you want to go if you're too lazy to walk, higher priority for reservations at all of the restaurants and all sorts of other stuff.

The room we got had a huge king-sized bed it, flat panel TV in the living room and a balcony that looked out over the pool. The bathroom was totally fucked up though. It was adjacent to the bedroom with only a movable wooden shade thing between them. It had a jacuzzi tub in it, which was nice and the stall with the toilet had a this little (see-though) glass door. Nothing says romance like dropping a major deuce 6 feet from the bed with a small clear glass door and little wooden shade between you.

I tried to spend as much time in the shade as possible during those 7 days. They had palapas around the RS pool but they were really hard to get into. I had to get up every morning at 6:30am to go down to the pool and throw our towels on one. Even at 6:30 almost all of them would be taken already. What was annoying was that half of them would stay empty all day long. People would throw their crap on one to reserve it in case they wanted to use it that day. Whenever we had one and we were leaving the pool to go to the beach or where ever, we'd take our stuff and let someone else use it.

I'm glad I went simply for the food I got to eat. All the resturants seemed to only have foo-foo items on the menus. The first night we were there I had lobster, a whole one. I'd never had it before, so I'm glad I did then. At the french restaurant the only hors d'oeuvre that sounded ok to me was Beef Carpaccio. Yeah, I had no idea that carpaccio means raw meat. It was kind of weird. The only other dish that I can remember was the Conch Bisque. There was other stuff, but it's been so long now I can't remember. Either way, I was dying for something like Wendy's or McDonald's by the time we got home. It was good to eat like that for a little while, but I'm not sure I could handle that for any length of time.

One of these days I'll put up a gallery of all the pictures we took (after I edit out my gut).

IT Security Strategies

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006 - Comments (2) in Computers, Nerd Stuff, Work

I was reading this is one of the many trade-mags I get at work. Most people probably won't find this funny, but anyone in the IT business should. This is from page 82 of the July 20, 2006 issue of Network Computing:

Top 11 worst IT security strategies
11. Surround the data center with rattlesnakes and vipers
10. Set up a firewall. There's gotta be firewood around somewhere
9. Equip all laptops with explosives that detonate if users don't check in every five minutes
8. Cover the server room floor with oil and marbles
7. Open source all customers' Social Security numbers; that way they can't be stolen
6. Hire Hells Angels to guard the server room
5. Try reverse psychology: If you offer thieves the data, they won't want it
4. DDoS the network every day so attackers can't access your files
3. Have all medical records entered in Pig Latin
2. Preemptively file a class-action lawsuit against your company for future data breaches
1. Write critical data on your body and never shower

My favorites are #7 and #3.