Friday, January 4, 2008

Identity Theft in Nashville and Davidson County -- A Reason Not To Vote?

My wife called this morning, mentioning a story concerning a break-in at the Davidson County Election Commission. It's a heavyweight town and area here politically. As we drove down Woodlawn Avenue yesteday, we wondered, "Oh, is that where Albert Gore's new home would be?"

Maybe those direct mail campaigns from the credit card companies were in line--pay your $20 a month and be worry-free. Vigilance in monitoring--this would appropriate action, especially now. Right this minute. Perhaps the insurance wouldn't be a bad idea. Will this be a tipping point? An even bigger escalation in the identity theft epidemic?

Were the thieves looking for cash, for crack? It seems those in government woke up, for the moment anyway; but it's reactive. With limited budgets and other agendas, how could it not happen? Audit is allegedly in progress.

The web could take this to a new level--there would be little time necessary to go and start spending money at an accelerated rate should further credentials be obtained. Maybe there will be a phone call from a credit card company asking if I really did order that Mercedez Benz from the Albuquerque dealer.

As far as computers go--these laptops. Were the hard drives encrypted? Perhaps the audit will make that determination. In government work I've done, that became a requirement. That might have come as a reaction to a theft--or perhaps Sarbanes-Oxley was an influence.

This will be a chance for the powers that be to restore my faith in government. If only there would be a way to hold out for a world where none of these extreme security measures would be necessary. Keeping my hopes up, that's the game. But until that perfect day arrives, the shredder will be buzzin', and we'll keep all close to the vest, practicing vigilance.

Why, oh why, did I have to vote?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Blogger vs. Wordpress Revisited: A Work In Progress

I am in the midst of deciding which blogging platform is better--Blogger or Wordpress (yes, I'm ignoring some major contenders). It's a tough decision. A Google of "Blogger vs Wordpress" yields a sizeable result set. Looks like WordPress is coming out a bit ahead.

I decided to go the self-hosted WP route, to get a bit closer to the PHP, dig into the database as well. A point made by some was that the plugins were more plentiful in WordPress, and there was greater SEO control. WP's import features were convenient. The two blogs will be in sync for a bit. One of them will be retired, perhaps left as an archive, if the kind hosting powers that be permit it.

All in all, both are terrific CMS packages, allowing customization, convenience. They're easy to use. The WP was a bit of a challenge to deploy, as there was a need to hit the command line for a good while to get things up and running. A GUI is preferable to me vs. a text editor--but it's handy to know both. And sometimes, truly, you need both.

You are encouraged to comment here, drop a line. Tips on great widgets or plug-ins are welcome!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Adaptor and DVD Misadventures, MacBook Grey Screen of Death, and the Troubleshooting Thereof

My fingers were a flyin' across the ol' Toshiba laptop keyboard. Fiercely concentrating on my work, it took some time for it to sink in: The faint smell of something like gunpowder. Gunpowder? "Have a look and a sniff around," I told myself. Nothing found.

More typing, reviewing, and such. And the gunpowder smell returns. Hmm, maybe I'll have a look over toward the right. Lo and behold, the adaptor is fried, and the fire is starting. This is my second PA3237U-1 ACA. They ain't cheap either. A nice gaping gash right near the casing. Sparks, smoke, and a little bit o' flame to wake me up and power down. Yikes! I ordered two PA3237U-1 equivalents online. I now need to be "adaptive" shall we say....

Luckily there's a handy MacBook Pro lying around. Off to see a client, armed with my spiffy new Leopard installed. Some video on a DVD to convert and post. No problem. Inserted DVD. Not much of a response. The DVD is home-made. The video finally plays. Great.

Now I'm back home, ready to cruise on the conversion and upload, as there was much else to discuss at the meeting. We're on our way. But wait a minute, I'm staring at a non-responsive system. Hmmmmm. Our video is still choking a bit, and actually now the whole computer is performing eratically. So it's time to power down. Coincidentally, internet goes down.

I'll restart. Hey, maybe I won't restart. Yeah, I've got a BSOD variant, a GSOD! Yikes. Shucks, I can't google it either. Hard copy documentation? What's that? I haven't picked up a pen in four months! Thankfully the dubdubdub returns, and I find a number of explanations on "MacBook Pro fails to boot", etc., none of which seem to apply. Uh oh, toast. But let's try the alternative, "eject dvd...".

Ah, this is where people are getting solutions to the GSOD, other than "call Apple and return the unit". Various possibilities--

  • hit eject button while booting,
  • hold down tracking area,
  • stick credit card or switch blade in dvd slot,
  • stick head between knees and kiss butt goodbye

One said that the computer booted while they were on the phone with Apple. Well being in another room on computer #3, I returned to find the MBP booting up. All on its own. Apparently there's a 10 or so minute delay before what's perceived to be a DVD boot disk is ignored and boot occurs from hard disk.

Gosh, I thought I had destroyed two computers in one day. Maybe next time?

Monday, December 31, 2007

A Year From Now

A Year From Now

A Year From Now
I will be better
A Year From Now
I will be fine
A Year From Now
I will write
In somewhat poetic lines

A Year From Now
I will know more
A Year From Now
I will know less
About the world
About myself
About the unequivocal guess

Oh yeah, and a year from now, I'll have better hair.

I am thankful for this year, for kind people, for learning, for health, for so much.

May this be a great year for all.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Continuing Adventures of a Leopard Convert

Gosh, a late night last night, watching the Leopard install. Leopard started to look like Leopold, Mozart's father. My wife said this was a spotty installation. My eyes. Do I have eyes? My friend Thom Bresh was raving about this latest version of OS X, so I had to give it a whirl I'm going to iChat it up with the man.

What a phenomenal interface--but it's slower. Investigate. The plans here are to go with virtualization, bootcamp, maybe vmware. Shucks, I'm going Mac and not going back. But I have a rear-view mirror with thousands of $ in PC software. Before I fork over another 4 figures for it on the new platform, why not use it in BootCamp if possible?

Another great component here is access to Darwin, the guts of OS X. A BSD implementation/variant that shreds. Unix/Linux will be in this virtualization scheme. So I'll be in hiding with thousands of physical and virtual manual pages, sifting through for answers. Will I have enough hard drive space?

There will be answers. I will settle for nothing less.

David Meerman Scott and The New Rules

A friend recently recommended a book to me: The New Rules of Marketing & PR, by David Meerman Scott. It's one heck of a readable read. There's an enthusiastic style here, with straightforward comments and insights on how the web has altered how businesses reach customers.

There's the old way and there's right now. Get on board with your blogs, podcasts, and other means of communicating. The book is rich with case studies and pointers on strategy for the new paradigm. Good stuff. In print. What a concept.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Things You Learn

One of the things you learn is that there's always more to learn!

Can you do it all? Can someone do it for you at a reasonable price? What's applicable--or not? Is there a formula for this? Is there a page on youtube? What does a google search yield?

Can you memorize Are control structures ringing in your head?

Ahhh, some things to do and/or ponder for 2008....