Monday, June 19, 2006

Save Screech's House!


I ask you, what better cause could there be? Poor Screech is being evicted. What would Mr. Belding and the gang say? You can help by buying a T-Shirt on his website!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Trumpet Cam


For all of us Drum Corps geeks, what could be cooler than a Cavaliers Trumpet Cam?
Well, maybe a Cadets cam, but you must admit this YouTube video is pretty cool.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Baghdad Burning

If you have not yet found the blog Baghdad Burning, you must check it out. Day to day life in the real Iraq, not the one the news and the government want us to believe exists. Here is what the blogger had to say about the death of Zarkowi:
How do I feel? To hell with Zarqawi (or Zayrkawi as Bush calls him). He was an American creation- he came along with them- they don't need him anymore, apparently. His influence was greatly exaggerated but he was the justification for every single family they killed through military strikes and troops. It was WMD at first, then it was Saddam, then it was Zarqawi. Who will it be now? Who will be the new excuse for killing and detaining Iraqis? Or is it that an excuse is no longer needed- they have freedom to do what they want. The slaughter in Haditha months ago proved that. "They don't need him anymore," our elderly neighbor waved the news away like he was shooing flies, "They have fifty Zarqawis in government."

Truly, the internet and the phenomenon of blogging allows us to be directly informed in ways that were impossible before. The events in past posts on Baghdad Burning range from the mundane to the riveting, but it is always interesting and insightful.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bad Birthday


This week marks the 25th anniversary of the discovery of Aids.
For many of us, Aids has had a profound effect on our lives, on our friends, on our community.
For some, Aids is what Forrest Gump's girlfriend died of.
When I was doing summer theatre in my teens, we had a volunteer in the organization I'll call Bruce. Bruce was the first 'obvious' homosexual I had to deal with. Being from a fairly small Midwestern town, gay wasn't something we saw every day.
At one point one season I made a snide remark about Bruce's sexuality in an offhand way, trying to be funny, not thinking he was in the room. He was. I haven't felt so low, so despicable since. I didn't have the balls to fess up and apologize, to turn around and face him, even. It went unmentioned, and Bruce had the good grace to let it slide after that. It never left my mind, though.
About a year later I heard that Bruce died of Aids. In the intervening time I learned that a longtime friend who I'd always suspected was indeed gay, that a good friend from high school was gay, that many I was meeting through involvement in a performing arts activity were gay.
My three best friends on this planet today are gay.
Whatever your 'beliefs' are about homosexuality, the bottom line is that no one asked to be gay, and no one deserves Aids. And the fact that we sit here, 25 years later, still searching for a cure while our administration debates marriage amendments and flag burning is a fitting juxtaposition.
To Bruce, I know it's too late and too little, but I live with the regret of my remarks every day.
To friends that I've lost due to Aids, I remember and won't forget.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Priorities

It's nice to know that the Republican leadership has their priorities straight. While school finances are a mess, Katrina recovery is a mess, Border Security is an oxymoron, and energy independence isn't even a pipe dream, we get votes on same-sex-marriage and flag burning. The Republicans know that they do not have the votes to pass either. But they'll get their 30 seconds of TV and fire up the conservative base.
Our tax dollars at work.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Users

The Cubes - Bob
The Cubes - Bob,
originally uploaded by thepretenda.
Users.

Just the term, for those of us in IT, conjures up images and emotions. Love 'em or hate 'em, they are the reason I have a job.

In some companies, the IT department is no longer allowed to call users “users”. It's become a derogatory term, a pejorative that management wants to avoid. So they're called “clients”, or something similar.

I can see the thinking behind this. We should think of our users as clients, even though they often don't appreciate our work and are hostile to rules and checks we put in place. We exist solely to facilitate their work, to make them more productive, to help them use the technology that we provide in the best way, to it's fullest potential.

But people do stupid things sometimes, don't they?

When I was consulting to the public, one client required monthly visits to clean spyware, pop-ups, and other miscellanea from his machine due to his admitted porn surfing. Since he owned the company, he did what he wanted. His excuse was he had to have 'something to do' while on the phone. He was willing to pay the bill for it, so who was I to complain?

Now that I'm strictly in house for a large corporation with a pretty stringent Acceptable Use policy, you'd think things would be different.

Or not.

I've had user's complain about screen resolution and colors, only to find out that the only time it really mattered was when they were trying to view the latest naked picture that someone had sent them.

I've had to strongly suggest to senior management types that they should consider “cleaning up” their user folder because of “space concerns”. What I didn't want to say was that I ran a scan for *.mpg, *.avi, *.wvm, and you need to delete blowme.mpg and cumonmyface.avi before someone higher up than me spotted it.

I've had users steaming audio while downloading something else, and then wonder why their wan-based connection to our Citrix farm was slow.

I've seen user's machines crash, and then listened to them whine when I made them delete their 4 gigs of illegally downloaded and ripped from CD music that filled up the hard drive.

And of course they all wonder why we need to lock down their workstations and laptops now. Why we need an agent that runs to prevent them from installing programs. Why we force them to a default company screen saver. Look over the top of your cubicle, I want to say. Blame your neighbor.