Friday, March 30, 2012

Where in the world am I?

So I thought I would bring back another episode in the "Where in the world am I?" game.

To the right you can see a rather interesting picture.  A blaze of light against a dark background is your first hint.  The glow is mesmerizing and the contrast is intriguing.  But where are we?  Is this a picture from orbit?  Is this a picture from an aircraft?

Just where is this?

Answer in the comments below and I will post the answer next Monday.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Geek Humour

Anybody who knows me knows that I am truly a geek.  A nerd by any measure.  I have that slightly off center sense of humour that rules the geek world.  We geeks are proud of our lot in life and over time we have become the chic as well.

I recently was onsite with a customer and witnessed an excellent example of that humour.  The team I was working with had been moved within the building several times, and had finally landed in this area that included a support pole in the middle of the cubicles.  You can see this pole pictured to the right in this first picture.  In true geek fashion they choose to mock that which could be considered a detriment to the traffic in the aisle, and have fun at it's expense.  As you can see they have a thermostat and a piece of paper on this pole.  The thermostat is not, by any measure, of their making.  However, the paper most certainly is of their making.  I shall not say anything more about that paper than note that it was a moment of comic genius.

Although I must say "Very Supportive" is one of my favorites.

Well done team, well done.


Monday, March 26, 2012

A bird in paradise.

I was looking through my pictures for some inspiration and I stumbled upon this picture.  A few years back I went down to Florida to celebrate my grandfathers 90th birthday, and it was decided that I would be staying at his house instead of spending a lot of money on a hotel.  As a child I spent a week every year in that that house.   I remember those times with fondness, even if I was usually sunburned beyond belief every time. I remember playing in the sunroom and the exotic asian furniture they had as well.  Now I was many years older, and far less burnt, and I was back at the same house.  My grandmother had since passed away, and my grandfather was celebrating another year.

As we sat together on the screen in patio talking about whatever came up an beautiful white egret came up to the house.  The bird was snowy in color and the eyes are so vivid you are just felt drawn into them.  As the bird approached the house my grandfather started to tell me about how they come to get a treat from him, and they will actually eat from his hand because they trust him.  He then offered to show me.  The result is this amazing picture that will be with me for a long time.  It's a side of this man that many have never seen and I will cherish that moment in time for a long time.

Opa, you rock.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Random Pic - Fishing Contest

As I was considering what to do for today's post I realized that I had not put up a random post in a while.  See, some gentle readers casually mentioned that posting a Random Pic is the virtual blogger way of "phoning it in".  A way to take the easy way out and not have to think about a topic and put together a real post that would take work to create and post.

This post is one of those. Sort of.  I really had no idea of what to post and as I was going through my photos I realized that this picture was unique enough to warrant a mention, but so unique it would probably never fit in any where else.

What you see here is the results of a cruise in San Diego harbor.  The poor guy is just trying to get some fishing down and these pelicans have decided to join in the fun.  Unfortunately the birds are a bit better at it than he is so you can guess who is winning the contest.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

That is some serious inflation!

So the other day I went to buy some Kahlua and a bottle of vanilla.  The total was such a shock I took a picture to prove it really happened. A whopping 215.00 for two items!  But we figured that the price was worth the items since they were gifts for friends.  But 215.00?!?!
Then we went to get lunch from Johnny Rockets.  The menu had us gasping for breath. $165 for a burger and fries?!?  Although I must admit these "American Fries" are much better than the french version.  We bought our meals and ate them with much gusto.  I have to admit, it was probably the best >$100 burger I have eaten.

But then we saw the following sign that seemed to explain it all.

Yep, we were in Mexico.

Thank God, I though maybe inflation had finally caught up with us.


Monday, March 19, 2012

March Madness comes to town...

This time of year all the sports fanatics go crazy with prognostication and statistics compiling.  They burn through tons of chips, gallons of beer, and massive hours of TV.  All this because the college basketball playoffs have begun.

Normally I would try to find a hole and pretend that its not going to be as bad as previous years.  But this year, fate was grinning at what she had in store for me.  You see, this year the NCAA had decided to once again hold some of the games in Omaha.  That is not that bad since I am on the opposite side of town, but I forgot about the games and made plans to attend a mystery theater dinner at a restaurant that night.  Unfortunately, that restaurant is directly BEHIND the CenturyLink Center where the games were taking place.  Even worse, there are only two ways into the restaurant, one that requires that I loop around town to the far north or the one that takes me through the downtown section near the Center. 

Because I forgot all about the games being in town I choose the downtown route since it saves me about 20 minutes drive time.  At least it did until I hit the area by the Center.  Once there I ran into the pedestrian traffic and the party district.  There are several bars in the district, and they were packed to overflowing with revelers, and the foot traffic to and from the Center was beyond belief.  As you can see from the pictures in this post the people were just walking across the intersection we were sitting at in any direction they wish.  The police were in place to direct traffic and the pedestrian traffic seemed to be fairly well behaved.  I only needed to get past the traffic lights you see in the picture, but it took us almost 10 minutes to do so because the combined traffic was just so incredible.

So much for staying out of the way.


Friday, March 16, 2012

A beautiful start.

During my recent vacation to Cancun I took the time to view several sunrises.  The most spectacular was the first sunrise I photographed.

As the dawn began to show on the horizon the staff from the resort came out to clean up the seaweed that had washed up on the beach over night .  This gentleman was quietly raking up the debris and staying out of the way of the photographers on the beach so as not to interfere.  I actually lowered my camera at one point and he was patiently waiting for me to finish my shots so he could rake in front of me.  I signaled him to please continue working and took a picture of him in that early morning dawn.

The second memorable point happened a few minutes later.  A couple came down to the beach with a photographer and the woman was dressed in a bridal gown.  At first we thought she was going to do a "Trash the Dress" set, but instead it was a series with the couple, who had been married on the beach the night before, walking in the early morning light.  I did take advantage of the chance to shot these candid shots and what you see here is one of my more favorite.  It just seems to me that this shot catches them looking out to the future and holding on to each other in comforting and peaceful ways.  The waves and the watercraft in the background just seem to bring such peace to the whole scene.

Sometimes you just get a great shot without planning it.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

So which side is safe?

Since my house is not far from the Interstate, and we have a great system running throughout Omaha, I tend to spend a lot of time on the road with trucks.  Many times it can get a little hairy when those massive vehicles decide to change lanes and you are in the lane already.

But it turns out that there is a bad side to be on when passing a truck.  If you approach, pass, or drive on the passenger side of the truck you are most likely in their blind spot and quickly going to become a part of the truck if you do not move.  I know this from personal experience.  If I can find the photos, I may tell that story and you can see just what a truck can do when it changes lanes onto you.

In the meantime I shall return to my tale.  As I was driving the wife to a play we were passed by a flatbed truck that had come up with a novel way to remind drivers which side is NOT the correct side to pass them.

Needless to say, the point is very clear.

'Nuff said.


Monday, March 12, 2012

BSoD: In the interest of fairness

I have posted a few messages previously that highlight what is commonly know as a BSoD (Blue Screen of Death).  This is a situation where the Windows operating system crashes and displays a blue screen with white text detailing the error condition.  In the interest of fairness I will post a first for me..  a fail screen for Unix in a public location.

I went into a local fast food restaurant for lunch the other day and as I am looking at the menu I notice there is a little problem with reading it.  As you can see, the center screen has crashed and revealed that they are running the system on a unix based system.  I have to admit that this is very unusual since the unix systems are generally more stable and easier to recover.  The funny part is that the staff is not even trying to fix this at all.  they are running around helping customers and seemingly unaware of the issue.

Glad to see that this is happening everywhere and to everyone.


Friday, March 9, 2012

How do you estimate?

A while back I was on-site with a customer and they had this graphic posted on the wall.  Being an old school server admin I have had to suffer through the horrible estimation process that Microsoft has had in place for decades.  This graphic is a prefect representation of what it is like to have an estimate of how long a file copy will take in Windows.

But it also brings up great point about estimation in general.  In my industry we are constantly required to make estimates on how long work will take to complete, but this is without a complete view of what issues we may find in the process.  There are a lot of schools of thought regarding the process to determine the number. 

One of the most humorous approaches is called "The Scotty Principle". The general rule states as follows:
1) Determine the amount of time you feel it will take to accomplish any task.
2) Double that amount of time.
3) Add an additional 50% from step #2 and report that as the estimate.
4) Deliver the work in 60% of the time you gave as an estimate.

Congratulations you are now a miracle worker and the client loves you to death. At least as long as they don't know about the Scotty Principle for estimating.  Sadly my wife knows this and always divides my final number by 2 and expects is to actually show up about that time instead of what I told her.

If I tell her the number from step 1 she automatically doubles it and expects that amount of time.  It really is pretty tough when your best customer knows you that well.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

And the flight may be delayed.

One of the things I enjoy finding out in the wild is signs that Windows is use and even better is when Windows goes awry in its operation. I once again had that opportunity to find one of these moments when I was leaving for another trip.  As I was walking down to the gates at Eppley Airport in Omaha I glanced over to the flight information board to verify the gate number I was headed to and to my surprise one of the screens had suffered the worst insult possible... a BSoD.

A BSoD (Blue Screen of Death) means that the Windows operating system has crashed and needs to be restarted.  This is the worst sign you can see short of the one that says your data is gone. In this case the screen means that there are a few people, myself included, who will not be getting information they need from the board. :D

Another fine example of how technology can frequently cause greater problems than they solve.


Monday, March 5, 2012

The glass is quite cool.

 Over the years I have heard that old saw about the glass being either half empty or half full.  Based on my experience on my recent vacation I actully find that the glass is actually quite cool.

As we were on our Cancun vacation I found myself taking unusual pictures and one set I took was centered around three glasses on our table at dinner one night.  They started the evening with a glass of sparkling wine, then a glass of water, and finally a glass of wine.  The room was particularly stuffy and humid so the glasses quickly had condensation on them and that lead me to taking pictures of them.  The glasses seem to glow from the back lighting and the beads of water provide a wonderful texture to the surfaces.

There was a unique centerpiece that looked like a candle but actually was a box made of stone or some other material that had an LED in it which provides a nice textured background for these shots. and I love the way that the texture from the centerpiece plays through the glass itself.



Friday, March 2, 2012

Be sure to read the sign...

When you are in Mexico and have to use the restroom be sure to read the signs in the stalls. This sign is not telling you not to throw your dice in the toilet, although you may be tempted after a bad night the craps table.  Although the sign does happen to have something to with craps.

If you enter a stall and it has a trashcan next to the stool like this you may need to rethink your process.  You see the plumbing there is not at great as it is up here and after you have done your business instead of flushing the wood based evidence you will need to toss it in the trash can.  this seems rather disgusting, but it really is better than plugging up their lines.

I know about the process from personal experience.  Let's just say that is night advised that you be kind and stomp down the trash can in the bathroom in Mexico because it's full and you want to be nice.

Just let it be and walk on.  Sometimes there are worse thing than toilet paper that could be stuck to your shoe.