Thursday, August 30th 2007
The good news is that I'm back. After a year or two of not-so-consistent service from my web hosting service provider, I was planning to give my business to someone else. Apparently my contract was up at the end of last week, and they neglected to tell me, and they shut down my site. How nice. Instead of bothering to argue with them, I decided now was as good a time as any to switch. I'm still uploading everything, but I should be up to speed later tonight.
Wednesday, August 22nd 2007
I know this has been a busy month, juggling all the work and multiple events we're double and triple-booked (tough life, right?), but if we can get past it to September, life will be so much sweeter. I wouldn't mind a family trip sometime soon. You know, just fly off somewhere for a 3 or 4 day extended weekend. We're mulling at the moment. I'll let you know when we've moved beyond mulling.
All morning meeting tomorrow, followed by lunch and a no-longer-a-surprise baby shower for someone in my office. We collected money from various people, and my wife & I (and Josh) went to Babies R' Us tonight to get the gift. I don't know how many hours it would have taken if I had gone alone, so I'm glad my wife agreed to help me. Tomorrow's lunch is gratis, so hey, not bad.
I've been nominated as one out of two subject matter experts for Wintel. I'm supposed to work with the other fellow in London to organize quarterly conference calls to talk about Wintel concerns. Great, right? Yes, but what the hell am I going to talk about? I'm going to have to schedule a call for everyone, and come up with an agenda that doesn't indicate that I know less than everyone else.
It's almost the end of August, and I've done less than 1 hour of studying for the CISSP exam since May, which I want to take in October. Anyone else smell the desperation?
Sunday, August 19th 2007
The good: my wife took off on Friday, relaxed, and met me for lunch. I think it was the highlight of my day. The bad: I met with my core team to discuss the upcoming audit. Oye, it hasn't even started, and I'm already feeling behind. The fun begins on Monday
On Saturday, we drove to Long Island for a party at the house of our friends Amit & Diane. Very nice party, Moroccan theme, and plenty of food.
On Sunday, we ran many errands, including to our local Best Buy to check out new refrigerators, 50" plasma tvs, Blu-ray players, wall mounts. You know, all the fun stuff in life. I even saw a Panasonic plasma tv that I liked. I want to get the tv when we can afford it, and worry about upgrading to Blu-ray or HD DVD in 1-2 years, but the salesman burst my bubble by telling me that DVDs will look fuzzy on my brand-spankin' new tv. Unless I upgrade to a DVD player that can upconvert to 720p. I don't really want to spend that kind of money yet. I don't even want to get DVD player right now, as this whole Blu-ray vs HD DVD battle is tiresome, and I don't want to invest in the wrong technology when the music stops in a year or two. Grrr.
I spoke to my friend Mike, and he confirmed it, but did say it won't be that bad. But I will eventually want to upgrade my DVD player. Sigh, it's never ending. I just wanted to sit in my chair (the one I don't have yet), and watch every single movie in my collection in glorious widescreen.
In the evening, I did some grocery shopping, then we went over to my in-laws' for dinner, and see my sister-in-law and family who were stopping by briefly.
Laundry is in the dryer, and it's time for me to sleep. The torture begins August 20th.
Has it been a week already? Gosh, it's gone fast. I'm wrapping up my participation on the current audit, and I start my review (which I'm leading) on Monday. It will carry me through to Thanksgiving. I'm fairly nervous about looking extremely incompetent, but I believe that's natural for everyone.
Last weekend, my wife was attended job training in NYC. They put her up at a hotel the entire weekend, so it was just a weekend for the Ipe boys. On Saturday, Josh & I went to a BBQ with friends. In the evening, we met up with my friend Olivia at a nearby Chili's for dinner. Nothing much on Sunday, but I went to NYC to pick up Nums after her last training class. She's been working horrid hours this entire month -- tutoring, teaching a course, spending a weekend in training. You gotta hand it to her, she works hard.
Bought some music recently.... you know, using free song credits.
Wednesday, August 8th 2007
Anybody know how to make a really good omelette? I tried making one yesterday, but it broke apart, and I was left with a scrambled omelette. I'm not trying to become a professional omelette wrangler, but I'd like to add it to my repetoire. If you have suggestions or tips, please add a comment. Thanks.
Against every impatient bone in my body, I've talked it over with my wife, and I think I'll wait until my current cell phone contract expires next July before I cancel. I have a bad tendency to blow money away on stupid stuff, and if I want to stop doing that, spending an additional $150 to break a wireless phone contract is not the way to go about it. I'll suffer silently, with puppy-dog eyes, and maybe someone will leave an extra $150 under the couch cushions for me.
In all seriousness, if I wait, then I saved some money, and I can use that money towards something useful..... like brakes for my car. Or new contacts. Or a pony. In even more gratuitous seriousness, if I wait until next July, an even cooler phone is likely to be out, so I stand to benefit in a multitude of ways.
I wasn't planning to see Superbad, as I don't know if I care about high school boys trying to get booze and get laid. Been there, done that. Actually, that was more like college for me. However, with every additional tv commercial or clip I see online, I just start cracking up. I think it might soon be time for a crude movie night out.
I suppose that if work wasn't boring, they wouldn't call it "work", would they?
I discovered that there's an AT&T Wireless store about 1 mile away from my office, so I took a drive to check out the BlackBerry Curve. It's an interesting device, but it would take some time for me to get used to typing on the tiny keyboard. I told that to one of my coworkers, and he wondered how tough would it be for me. I'm already typing quickly on the teeny-tiny keypad of my current phone. You know, he's got a point there.
So.... the Curve is interesting, but I'm disappointed that it doesn't have HTML email, just stupid plain text. Through research online, I've discovered that RIM does not offer HTML email on any of their devices for security purposes. Rats. I don't know if that's a dealbreaker, but it's up there on the list. I was talking to one of the salesmen, and he said they just got an email that the new Curve is coming to AT&T in early October. Dubbed the 8310, it'll have Camera/GPS/WiFi. Early October may change, so he advised me to check back in late September. I checked it out online, and Vodaphone just introduced the BlackBerry Curve 8310 with built-in GPS in Germany on July 31st. See link 1 and link 2. Back in March, the website The Boy Genius Report leaked more details on the 8300 lineup. It's been pretty accurate so far, including the not-yet-named 8310. If it's coming out in just 2 months, I can wait.
I bet all of you who aren't interested in any of this are going *yawn*. Sorry -- try back here tomorrow.
Undercover reporter Michelle Madigan [NBC Dateline] tried to sneak into DEFCON 2007 with hidden cameras to get someone to confess to a felony. When DEFCON staff announced the “spot the undercover reporter” game and told the audience that an undercover reporter was taking video to catch someone confessing to a hacking crime, Madigan bolted from the conference premises followed by a pack of ~150 DEFCON attendees and reporters trying to photograph and video tape her. I used to work with an Info Sec professional who always attends the DEFCON conference. She had the utmost respect for the DEFCON folks, and what they could do. After reading the article, I'm siding with the hackers, and I find the reporter's arrogance humorous.
Is it August already? The year is flying by. I've also acquired nothing on my wishlist. Hmmm. I may have to revise my list to simpler items, such as "Eat breakfast."
On Wednesday, I took the subway up to midtown to attend a retirement party for my previous coworker Karen. She was a great coworker, and I sorely missed her company after leaving my old job. Karen was the coworker I travelled with to Mexico in 2003 for 2.5 weeks -- my very first international trip without my parents. I also got in a picture with some old and new IT audit team coworkers. The former coworkers I used to work with, and still with the team are David (blue shirt), Jack (my boss, pink shirt), Karen (center, blue shirt.)
Friday night, Num's parents agreed to keep Joshua overnight. Call it some sort of grandparent slumber party. Nums had to work late, as did I. Still, I met up with her at her office around 8:30pm, then went out to dinner like two adults at Main Street Euro-American Bistro in Princeton. Good food, and nobody had to take turns entertaining a toddler. Wow, that was fun.
Saturday morning, Num had a training class to open up, so I tagged along as she picked up donuts, coffee, etc, for class attendees, then we hit the nearby mall for a quick shopping trip. I also handled the Apple iPhone for the first time, and I think it's pretty neat. A late brunch/lunch at a nearby Perkins restaurant, then we picked up Ipe Junior. Everybody was in good spirits, so I think we'll have to do this again sometime.
Saturday night was the long-awaited wedding of Chirag & Kanika. It was up in North Jersey at the The Rockleigh country club. Stunningly beautiful place, and the reception was great. I took a few pictures, but will post later this week.
Today, Num was working another training class, but we met up at church later that morning. Afterwards, some indian grocery shopping, then we all took a nap this afternoon for a few hours. I'm enjoying these relaxing weekends -- no more running around if we can help it!
You know, I've been blabbering about buying a fancy new car like the Lexus ES 350 or the Infiniti M for a long while now. Before the Lexus, I was talking about the Audi A6 and BMW 3 series. Hey, I like the fancy things in life. Anyway, I've been looking at the Infiniti M, and to get what I want, it'll cost about $50,000. I did the payment estimator, and if I want a semi-reasonable monthly payment, I'd need a downpayment close to $20,000. I've been thinking about it today, and I don't know about you, but that seems like a lot of money. I'm not saying we couldn't save up for that, or just look under the couch cushions, but...... I could find a lot of other uses for that. Lots of home renovations. A lot of posh family trips for a year. Or bank it for almost one full year of college for Josh. Do you know what I'm saying? I want a fancy car, but I'm starting to feel some guilt about frivolously spending that kind of dough, even if it's hypothetical dough. I read an MSN article awhile back that said that the stupidest thing people often do is get weighed down with ridiculously expensive monthly car payments.
At the end of the day, you just need a working vehicle that gets you from Point A to Point B. Food for thought as I ride my future moped scooter around town.
Have I mentioned that I'm sick of my current cell phone? I purchased the Motorola E815 back in June 2006, but I've been regretting it ever since. It's so bland and boring, and doesn't fulfill my mobile needs. My wife has no idea what that means when I continue to complain about that, but I'll try explaining it here. I don't just want a phone. I want my contacts and calendar info too. I want some web browsing. I want cool features. I don't just want a cell phone that makes phone calls, and crashes every so often.
I'm looking at various options, but Verizon Wireless has nothing cool. AT&T seems to get all the new phones and blackberries, so I'm mulling a switch. Two complaints about them: I still hear problems about their phone coverage, and I think their plans a little on the expensive side. The iPhone is neat, but no text messaging? I'd rather be dead. I'm seriously considering a Blackberry like the Curve. It's getting very good reviews. I like the 8800, as it has a built-in GPS receiver, but it doesn't have a camera. I haven't ruled it out though. I'm going to check the Curve out in person at an AT&T store later this week. Still, I'm a little put off with the monthly fees. Regular phone service, and a Blackberry data plan, are going to run me over $80 a month. Yikes.
Of course, since I'm under contract with Verizon until June 2008 or so, it'll also cost me $150 to cancel. Ah, penalties. Still, I'll hold out as long as I can, but as I get more irritated with my phone with each passing day, the chances grow greater that I'll take the hit financially. Ah, the joys of being a rage-aholic. I'm just too addicted to rage-ahol!
This past week, I've been up and down on news of the future 6g iPod. Some reports that it's coming out in September 2007. Some say January 2008 or later. I really miss having portable music to listen to at work. Sigh. If I just knew if it was coming out soon or not. If it's 2 years from now, fine, I'll just buy the current 5.5g version. If it's just around the corner, then I'll wait. I just want to know so I can make a decision. Bastards.