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Archive - April, 2005

----- 04.26.2005 --------
Well, I'm not sure where to start, but what I'm most excited about is the conference I went to today at the convenction center. So, why don't I start with it. Today's conference, the "Canadian IT Pro Community Summit", sponsored by Microsoft TechNet & Winternals. The feature speaker was Mark Russinovich from Winternals. In fact, as an added bonus, the first 200 attendees were given a signed copy of his latest book, Microsoft Windows Internals. Registration started at 8 so I got there at 7:45 to ensure I'd get a copy. And I'm glad I did because it's a great book and the 200 copies went fast! Anyway, when Mark got up to do his presentation, I wasn't really sure what to expect. He dove right into a demo of Process Explorer, a wicked FREE utility that he's written and evolved since 1996 or so. This tool replaces the Task Manager in Windows. A MUST for all IT pro's!!!! And to hear him talk about it and demonstrate it's power was awesome! A real display of knowledge, and I felt great because I was right in sync with what he was saying and where he was going with it. This is the stuff that I deal with all the time! And his book showcases this and several other tools. Later on in the day he went up again to present on Recovery Manager, a pay-for product w/ a ton of potential. Which brings me to my ideas and where I see corporate networks going.... ours in particular.

Although I typically don't talk shop on here, here's another exception. Depending on my audience, maybe this is something I should do more often? So, this part is for the geeky, so feel free to tune out and skip to the next paragraph. What I envision is this: A comprehensive solution to fight malware and the threats associated with networks today. On top of everything we do (content filtering on web and email, restricting rights, firewalling, patching, anti-virus, policies.... and the list goes on!), spyware and other crap ends up on systems. Sometimes it's a security threat, sometimes it gets in the way of productivity, and mostly it's a big nuisance. So here's what I see.... data is held on the servers (like is now), and the workstations are simply a means to access it. That's the current situation..... but I want to change that. I want the workstations to get wiped out EVERY night and rebuilt. All user-customizations would be saved to a server and reapplied. This way, say a piece of spyware gets on the the system.... the maximum exposure is < 24 hours. No, I'm not suggesting this is a way around today's practices.... this would be in addition to all the gateway and server countermeasures. And not to mention the performance gains!!!! Everyone knows windows runs slower over time... it's simply the nature of the beast. That problem? Gone! Remember the speed of your PC the day you set it up? It'd be that speed EVERY day! And the install it would receive would be the latest & greatest with all patches and up-to-date anti-virus. Not to mention the fact it would be a hardened system with all the latest efforts to thwart sabotage. OK... am I dreaming? I don't think so, and I think it's much sooner then I thought. It looks like Winternal's Recovery Manager is getting closer to this. I spoke with them and this quite possibly could be a direction they'll take the product. I need to speak with them more to express MY interest is such technology. And I'm sure others would love this too! OK.... that's all for now... onto less geeky stuff.

I had a really good weekend. On Friday night I went to a party hosted by a friend I used to work with back in the days of London Guarantee, whom now works my cousin over at Chubb Insurance. It was pretty fun and I had a good time. On Saturday I went to Ikea with Jen and Andrew (my cousin) and picked up a few things. I love that place! It's dangerous in there! And that led me to a few projects over at Jen's condo. I put up a shelf for her, and a cool slide out shelving unit for the bathroom cabinet. In fact, I got the same unit for myself,but I haven't put mine up yet. Putting it uo into Ikea cabinets is a piece of cake. The holes are pre-drilled and all you need is a screw driver. However, in both our cases, I had to retrofit it in. That means drilling holes.... very carefully not to pop out the other side! I did a great job on hers... I hope I can do the same for myself :) Sunday was a pretty lazy day and then yesterday was work. After work we went out for drinks on the company. It was only a couple hours, but it's great to share a few pints with coworkers. And then today was the conference. After the conference I met Chris at the gym, as usual. We had a great shoulder workout! While I was there, there was a chiropractician (sp?) with a laptop and cool looking device. He was offering free "Muscle EMG Scans". I had one and it took a few minutes. My muscles are a lot tighter on my right then my left. I attribute that to one of 2 things. The first is that my sternum isn't exactly centered. Not sure why not.... I think it was as a kid, but somewhere along the line, I think my body got a little shifted around. Remember... I'm a walking sports injury! Wait, lemme clarify.... not just sports... lol. And then there's number 2.... a couple years ago I seperated my right shoulder. Actually, I didn't, but the guy who jumped me at a party was kind enough to. I think that causes my right side to work harder. Anyway, for right now it doesn't bother me, but it may down the road (as he tried to sell me his services :). Well, I guess that's all.... actually, this was a fairly lengthy update! If you got this far, congrats and thanks for listening. I hope all is well with everyone. Feel free to email me (see the link on the left) and let me know how you're all doing for a change. Cheers!

----- 04.21.2005 --------
I'll keep this pretty short since I'm tired and need to hit the hay soon. Yesterday Jen & I celebrated our 6 month anniversary together. 6 months already.... wow, time flies when you're having fun! We didn't do too much... ordered a pizza, had a couple drinks, watched a movie or two and mainly just spent our time alone together. It was great :) The 2 movies we saw were Catwoman and King Arthur. I really enjoyed King Arthur, but Catwoman sucked! It was really bad! I couldn't believe how often the substited CG for real stunts or impressive scenary fly-bys. And they did a bad job! It wouldn't have been so bad if they didn't try to make you believe it was real. Whatever, it's just a movie. Anyway, speaking of movies, I think I'm going to watch Scary Movie 3 off TMN On Demand with a sleep timer. I'll laugh myself to sleep :) OK... g'nite!

----- 04.17.2005 --------
Today Jen & I did the "Walk of Life" for charity. It wasn't a challenging event for us by any stretch, but it was fun and the weather was amazing! It was a 5 K walk down the Martin Goodman Trail. I've been down that stetch dozens of times on my blades, but never walking before.
Speaking of blades, I went out again this weekend. In fact, I finally got Jen her blades I promised her for her Birthday. I went out first on Saturday for a good 12 K, and then we went a couple together to break hers in and let her get used to them. Put another notch on the blade-o-meter :) I'm really looking forward to a lot more blading this summer. And soon, I intend to get that speedometer working. I got some 80 MM wheels since that is the size of the replacement they sent me. If this doesn't work, then the product is crap! Maybe it just doesn't work with aluminum frames? Dunno, but I tried just about everything last year! I guess we'll see over the next few weeks.
Not sure if you've seen Google Maps yet, but they are awesome! Not only are the maps and driving directions awesome, but now they've added satellite images, thanks to their purchase of Keyhole systems. Pull up a map, and then in the top right corner, click "Satellite". Amazing! You like that? Well you're about to love it when you check out Google Sight Seeing. It's a site dedicated to interesting locations on google maps. And it's updated daily. Well, I guess that's about all for now. I hope everyone's doing well!! Take it easy....

----- 04.10.2005 --------
I'm very excited to add the new Roller Blade Meter you see at the top. This is something I thought of at the end of the 2003 season that I wanted to implement for 2004. Unfortunately, that idea never came to fruition, as do many of my ideas and projects! However, for 2005, as you can see, I've created the meter! What I'm even more excited about is the fact another blading season is here :) I've set my goal at 500 KM for this season, but I think that should be easily attainable. Last season I must have done close to that much and I was out of commision for a month and a half with a broken rib. So, yesterday was a beautiful day so I threw on my blades and skated. I went east because that's where the wind was coming from. Typically, I'll start into the wind so that my return trip isn't too bad. And it was pretty windy!!! I headed east and took the Cherry St. Beach detour and found myself making it all the way to the end of the Martin Goodman Trail out in the beaches. On the return trip, I bypasses Cherry St. Beach and skated beside Lakeshore. This shaves about 2KM off. Because it was the first skate of the season, I didn't want to psuh too hard. But still, I ended up skating about 18 KM. My time was 1 hour and 35 minutes. That included a couple rests. Last summer that same trip (without wind) would be about an hour. But I feel I'm off to a good start! My cousin Andrew is organizing a team for the "Ride for Heart" race. I said I would participate. I believe it is 25 KM and takes place in June. Piece of Cake! :) Speaking of charitable events, this weekend coming up Jen & I will be walking in the "Walk of Life". We will be walking on my company's team, St. Paul Guarantee Insurance. If you would like to sponsor me, please do so here. Thank you! OK, I guess that's all for now. I'm pretty tired... that little meter was more work then I thought! But, it's modular and I can use it next year and easily extend it to any length I'd like. It's also easy to fill the progress in the way that I've made it. If you care to give me any feedback, feel free to Email Me! That's all for now folks! I hope you're all doing great! Cheers :)

----- 04.05.2005 --------
Yes, that's right.... I finally have my Vancouver pics sorted and posted. I'm really tired, but if I didn't do them soon, they just wouldn't get done! So, I hope you enjoy them! And of course, as usual, if there are any you really like, just ask me and I'll email you the original file. They've all been reduced to 800x600, however the originals are a whopping 2848x2136 !!! 6.3 megapixels to be exact (give or take 16 ;). OK, now I'm just talking gibberish. After all, that may be what I'm best at! The past couple days have been long! I was in Management meetings at work. Today I had to present on my area (IT Infrastructure) to the group of about 35 managers. I felt it went really well! Anyway, if you're interested, I can tell you more about it personally. K... off to bed! Enjoy the pics!

----- 04.02.2005 --------
I was just sitting here picking out pictures to post and realized I won't be able to get them posted before I go to dinner (in 15 mins or so) so I thought I'd write a quick update and archive what I had (march). I'll have the pics from my trip to Vancouver up very soon, most likely tomorrow. What I did want to write about was the Pope. I am not Catholic, but am Christian. I always saw the Pope as a key world leader, but never my leader. So I find out today that he died. The way I see it, he had a good long life and any man would be happy to have accomplished as much before they go. Now, related to this, is an email I received a couple days ago, before he died. You are entitled to your own opinion of course. I find it rather spooky. Prophecies & the whole Nostrodomus thing and the Mayan calendar ending 2012 (I think that's it), and all the rest.... either way, the world ain't gonna live forever. And with everything heating up, I'm fearing the end is nearer then we would prefer. Most importantly though is to live as if tomorrow is your last day on earth.... but plan as if you'll live forever. Too many leave out that 2nd part. Also, too many forget the first part. OK, I'm rambling and I should be getting ready to go out to dinner! Here's that article I found interesting, as taken from Urbansurvival.com.

Pope Watch

Several readers have asked for a repeat of our Feb. 5th report, so here you go:

Pope Health Watch

Although the health of the Pope is OK for someone in the hospital with flu and Parkinson's, judging by reports coming out today, our Houston Bureau has just sent up an interesting "backgrounder" that makes for interesting reading.  Several readers asked about the prophesy I referred to earlier today, relating to which Pope will be the last one.  Here's the report:

"If you go by the famous prophesy of St. Malachy ( http://www.catholic-pages.com/grabbag/malachy.asp)  in the 1100s, JPII is "de labore solis", or literally "from the labor of the sun." This is typically interpreted to refer to the fact that JPII was born during an eclipse of the sun.

Should the prophesy bear out, there are two popes left. The next will be "gloria olivae," or "glory of the olives." This has been interpreted to mean that the current archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger will be next. This is due to his being a convert from Jew to Catholic. Since the Jews are associated with Jerusalem, and Jerusalem is famous for (among other things) olives...etc. Tenuous, yes, but I only report.

The final pope is reported to be Peter of Rome. According to the prophesy, Peter will oversee the destruction of the Roman church and Rome itself leading up to the Big One.

Malachy's terms for each pope are said to be taken from significant events in the life or family cote d'arm of the pope. Paul VI was "flos florum," or "flower of flowers," a reference to the prominent fleur de lis in his cote d'arm. JPI was "de mediatate Lunae," or "of the half of the Moon," referring to his being pope for just over one month.

What this boils down to is that "The End" will begin with the end of the next pope. One is tempted to think that this may be a long time, but remember that JPII was elected in the "Year of Three Popes." Paul VI and JPI both died and JPII was elected in the space of three months. The next pope may reign for years, months, weeks, or days. The prophesy is mute on lengths of terms.

A side note: JPII is currently the third longest reigning pope in the 2,000 years of church history.

What's the economic angle? There are a lot of Catholics (about 1 billion), and quite a few of them are at least attuned to this prophesy, if not outright believers. Their economic activity could very well be governed by their perception of whether the world will soon end. This may mean hoarding, mass migrations, or any of several reactions to perceived coming events.

Want my "Weird Prediction of the Week?"  Pope goes during the April 8th total eclipse.  Hints from on high, don't you know?

On the other hand, a few readers see even more to next week's eclipse:


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