Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Costa Rician caffine
Sitting in my cube, reviwing code, and munching on White chocolate covered gourmet coffee beans from Cafe Britt that I picked up in San Jose. Yum!

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Costa Rica - a glimpse from a teen
Erika has added an entry to her blog about Costa Rica. As always, very cool. And on my birthday no less! Thank you Erika! And it is so cool to read how you feel about the keys. Like I told you Saturday/Sunday. It is very cool to see you stepping out in that! It adds so much.
It is weird how writting is kind of like putting a part of your soul down on paper. For me writting just kind of flows out, as I think about something. It can be something like blogging, writting a poem, or even writting a technical document. One weird thing is that I can't repeat it. Writting a particular thing is a unique. I'll never write it the same way twice. I think about this because I don't write on paper, but on a computer. And computers crash.

I've written a document, sometimes hacked a program, or just written a blog entry. If I lose it (didn't save often enough and the program crashes, program gets deleted and I can't restore it), I can recreate the general idea... but not the same words. Not the exact same emotion. It was something I was feeling at that exact time.

I just thought of this because I've written something in blogger before and accidently hit a wrong button and had it just disappear. Forever. Never to be seen again. I can try and recreate it, and again - maybe it has the same feel, but it isn't the same thing. There for a few seconds, when I saved the last post, the screen went blank (like it always does)... and I thought "Oh man... did I hit the right button?", and then it repainted and there was the entry.

Hopefully my whole day won't be like this. I'm thinking 45 is kind of strange. ;-)
Its kind of bizzare
Today I'm 45. Wow.

No big pearls of wisdom or anything like that. That would take too much thought, and it is another normal day, have to get ready for work, go to work, etc.

But one thing I've been thinking of writting lately... for whatever reason. The effect of music. How it can transport you back to a place and time. When I got born again (accepted Jesus as my Lord and became a Christian), I stopped listening to secular music. Not right away, but after a time. Some of the stuff I had been listening to was not real great, and I was also joining a worship team, and I had to kind of get my mind off some stuff. So for about 7 years all I listened to was Christian music. Then a few years ago I started listening to secular music once in a while. Mostly classic rock. The stuff I listened to growing up. As a side note, I can't believe the garbage that comes out of DJs mouths these days... but I try to avoid listening and change stations when I know they are going to talk. Anyway, this isn't so much about any of that... but about how muisc can transport you.

I thought about starting another blog, just about certain songs and where they take me. Maybe I will, but for now I'll just put something here.

Two songs that really transport me, for whatever reason.

The most recent is Let it Rain, which is not a classic rock song, but is a worship song.
Open the floodgates of heaven.
Let it rain, let it rain.
That's it. The entire song. But it is a song we did a lot in Costa Rica. When Michael is singing that song, and Nicole starts echoing him, in her passionate way, it takes me right back to Costa Rica. Standing in the sound booth at the Oasis. Looking over the balcony at the team and a crowd of 2000 people with their hands raised. All worshipping God. And just feeling His presence so strong. And being amazed at the passion and power of her worship as He sings through her... and through the entire team as they join together and just worship Him. It was an awesome time.

And then for something totally different... The Boys Are Back In Town, by Thin Lizzy. I hadn't heard that song much for a long time. This year it started getting a lot of air time on several of the classic rock stations. We used to play this in the band, back when I was a teen. We eventually broke up and went back to leading "normal" lives - which mainly consisted of going back to school. After school I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, and so spent one summer in Haver MT. We lived in Big Timber MT (pop: 2500, south-central MT), and Haver was a "city" up north, near Canada. We had some friends up there, a divorced mom with 6 daughters, a hugh house, and an unfinished basement. Some of the guys used to go up there and just hang out in the basement. Looking for odd jobs and just generally hanging out. This was the summer of 1977. Several of the guys had been up to Haver a few times, and on their latest trip I went with them.

So... The Boys Are Back In Town.

Haver MT. Warm summer evening. 17 to 19 year olds. No where to go, nothing to do. Just hanging out. Strutting down the street, walking all abreast. Probably Marv, Mel, Steve and me. Maybe Terry. Ear rings (crosses, daggers, skulls, porcupine quill). Necklaces (eagles, arrow heads, etc.), shirts (flannel or polyester) open 1/2 way down. Hash jeans - whatever was the latest - large star, hash, butterfly. Mostly likely platform shoes. There we are, strutting down the street, first night back in Haver, walking down town to see what we can find. Singing The Boys Are Back In Town.

Its weird. I've talked to Marv twice since I left MT 19 years ago. (I'm not great about keeping in touch). But I can hear that song on the radio... and feel the same way I did then. It all comes back. And in my mind I can look over, and see Marv. That look on his face, not a care in the world. Just out looking to conquer it. Whatever it happened to be.

Its just weird how music and take you back to a time and place. Sometimes far in the past, sometimes just around the corner.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Play Money
The other day I was doing a lot of compiles, sitting around waiting for stuff to finish, with only a few minutes here and there. Not really enough time to seriously get into any other tasks. So, I figured I'd check out some blogs. Checked my regular ones and still had some time, so took a look at Blogger's "Blogs of Note". One of them was Play Money. That sounded interesting, so I took a look.


I've played games for pretty much forever. Started playing video games when they came out, then computer games. Also played PBM (Play by Mail) games, and then later PBEM (Play by EMail) and then online games. Some of my friends and I, who are all programmers and have at different times played games quite a bit, always said, "It would be so cool if you could earn a living playing a game."

I stumbled across the Play Money blog, and that is exactly what this guy is doing! Or at least attempting to do. Pretty amazing. It never occured to me that you could sell a virtual thing and make real money. I've played this kind of game before. Not Ultima Online, but similar types of games. And I've won some of them, and those I haven't won, I've usually done pretty well. Amassing resources, trading, etc. Who would have thought that you could take some "valuable" resource in a game, and sell it for real money? I don't know why it never occured to me. Given some of the games I've played (some lasting 18 months), the desparation of someone not having enough ships to protect a homeworld, the ease with which things could be traded, etc... it was always possible. Just no one ever thought of it!

And now I stumble across a game system, that has a few hundered thousand players, and they are selling virtual items, for real money, on e-bay. And the annualized sales for this year are $3.4M!!! That's right, $3,400,000 will change hands this year on e-bay for castles, runes, cloaks, etc. And it has an actual exchange rate (just like any country). Currently 1M Britannian gold pieces are going for $16.63, which is up 4 cents from last week.

From a game point of view, I found the very concept interesting - that it would be so formalized, "normal", etc.

From a game philosophy point of view, it was interesting too. In some of the more complex games I've played, there have always been different styles of play. Some people treat it as a war game, some as adventure, some just want to be traders. Now here is a game where someone is a real trader. Not just trading in the game, but making a living off of it in real life.

I'm not an economist, or even understand it real well, but I thought that part of the blog was interesting too.

And then there were the fraud/scam issues. Something I deal with every day, in one way or another. And here are some of those same issues being dealt with in a virtual world... or actually in the blending of a virtual world with a real one.

Some pretty interesting stuff. If Ultimate Online wasn't such a time sink, I'd think of joining. I still might... as long as I can keep myself from spending too many hours on it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Rivals of HP court Tru64 users
Death of another DEC product. :-( HP is dropping Tru64, which is the Digital Unix for the Alpha. They are suggesting their users migrate to HP-UX. Sun is countering that, saying it would be easier for users to migrate to Solaris. I haven't used Tru64 that much, but I don't think either will be an easy migrate. Digital's Unix had some cool VMS capabilities built in, from what I remember. Things like the Distributed Resource Lock Manager for one. You just aren't going to find that on other platforms.

Well... at least they continue to support OpenVMS. No longer on the Alpha, instead on the Itanium... but at least it is still there.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Reply to Nathan
Nathan added a comment on my guest book, basically asking "How do you start blogging?". Hey, its easy. Just go to Blogger, and follow the steps. There is a "SIGN UP" section. Just fill in what you want your username and password to be. It will then step you through how to do it. Getting comments, how many hits, etc. is a bit more work. But just starting is easy. Nathan, if you do start blogging, let me know and I'll add a link to your blog!

And speaking of comments, my "guest book" comments on Fusion Worship, Costa Rica 2003, seem to have disappeared. Maybe I have something set up wrong...

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

ComputerWorld: Microsoft warns of widespread Windows vunlnerability
Yet another security flaw that "could give remote attackers total control over a Windows system". What else is new.
The New York Times: Internet Chat Seen as Tool to Teach Theft of Credit Cards
NYTimes article on credit card fraud. One of the things that the software I use is designed to prevent!

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

ComputerWorld: Feds ponder WorldCom's fate as government contractor
Bottom line - yeah, it would be great for our competitors, but it would hurt our customers (including the government).
I'm back!
I back in the states, at home. Got to head into work today, so probably not much blogging. I'm at home right now, going through my 1115 emails I have! MailWasher shows me that 305 are hidden (meaning I've filtered them as good), the other 800 I'm checking to see if they should all be bounced. You just gotta love spam. :-(