Saturday, January 29, 2011

Warrior Dash Diaries

Last year I took up running to try to lose 35 pounds by my 35th birthday. I didn't make it all the way to 35 pounds, but I did lose some weight and managed to reach my goal of running 5 kilometers. Last year, a few of my friends did a fun race called the Warrior Dash which is a combination of a 5k race and various obstacles (fire, water, climbing, etc).  It is a fun environment: Lots of people get dressed up in costumes, plenty of beer is drunk afterwards, good time had by all.   So I signed up along with many of my friends and old co-workers from AMD (it looks like we're probably going to be about 10 people all together).  The hardest obstacles for me will probably be the hill and the climbing obstacles (cargo net, wall).

So far this year I've been running on the treadmill.  Yesterday, happily for the first time this season it was warm enough to hit the streets.  I purposely took a route that had a short hill, and I ain't gonna lie, it hurt.  This summer I need to concentrate on endurance, inclines and strength training.  My current training plan is running 3 times a week, but I think I might need to mix in some stair climbers and weight lifting too.  Work harder, Jordan, August is sooner then you think.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Added Google Buzz

I just added the contents of my Google Buzz feed which mostly consists of stuff shared from Google Reader and the odd tweet.  That along with this blog is about 85% of my online social life, which luckily for you is the more interesting part because it involves booze, sports and politics.

Google Apps in one easy step

In typical open source fashion, this is normally where you would put a long list of instructions for any major operation, in this case switching my other domain from my home hosted solution to Google Apps, but Google has taken all the fun out of it.  Just go here and follow the instructions.  That is all.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Two quick customer service reports

I had two interesting customer service experiences today.  First, the good.  I went through the drive through at Good Times for lunch today.   I got home and discovered they forgot the chicken nuggets for my daughter.  I stormed back, ready to do battle.  The lady who was running the drive through helped me.  She remembered me and apologized immediately.  She ran in back to get the nuggets, and the other guy at the cash register offered me a free cup of ice cream, and when the lady came back, she also offered me a cup of ice cream.  It took 10 minutes of of my life, but I got my order, a free thing of ice cream, and a great impression.
Kudos to Good Times - the food is excellent, and the people are great.

 Then the bad: I was on the terrible qwest.com where I was trying to set up paperless billing.  Their website doesn't work with Chrome, which I only figured out after getting a temporary password and then not being able to do anything with it.  Create a second temporary password.   Log in, do some stuff, get logged out unexpectedly, password doesn't work.  Get third password, then get put through a long line of click through windows.  The best one was the security question that put a restriction on the number and type of characters for the answer, pretty much assuring that I won't be able to remember it later.  It took me 30 minutes to do something that should have taken me 5.  How do I know?  Because I turned on paperless billing at another utility I have, and it took me exactly 5 minutes.   Shame on you Qwest.  Know that the only reason why I still use your service is that I hate Comcast just a little bit more.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Here we go again.....

Another season, another fresh start here for the long maligned cosmicpenguin.net.  After 6 years of running my own server in the basement, I've started to move my services to the magical cloud courtesy of various Google technologies.  When I first moved into this house 6 years ago, I was sure that all I needed was Linux and a IP address, and for the most part that was true.  I was able to keep email and web running for all 6 years with a minimum of effort, that is to say, long stretches of nothing interspersed with hours of complete panic. It isn't that I couldn't maintain the servers, but I'm busy enough to not want to worry about the little things; fighting spam (both email and blog comments), worrying about backups, and dealing with occasional outages.  It is pretty hard to look at the current (free!) state of online services and not feel like there is a better way.  Sure, its not the true way of the Linux geek, and free software advocates rally against turning ones personal life over to the largest corporations in the world, but let me turn that argument on its head.  I can run the servers myself if I want, but why?  I don't have any personal secrets in my email or blogs that couldn't stand to see the light of day if they had to.  And why spend the time to keep my servers going that I could be doing something more useful with my life, like play with my daughter or spend time with my wife.  I'm going to let somebody else do the spam filtering and the backups and the general drudgery of IT management.  Been there, done that.  Its time to move on.  If you want to take away my geek card, come on down.