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Archive: February, 2006

----- 02.25.2006 --------
Jen & I went to the Toronto International Auto Show today. It was pretty cool. The last autoshow I'd been to was the Detroit Auto Show, probably 10 years ago. This one was pretty big, encompassing 3 showrooms (MTCC North, South, & the Skydome). Since I've been lacking in the media department lately (ie. being boring because I haven't posted pics), I decided to take pics and post them. Click here for pics.. I hope you enjoy them. If there's any pics you want in full 6.3 Megapixel res, let me know and I'll email you the originals. Later!

----- 02.22.2006 --------
[Geek Alert]So I'm in Eaton's center last night, waiting for Jen to finish writing her midterm (she's taking an HR management course @ George Brown). And where do I go? Of course, I'm pulled towards CompuSmart (which used to be CompuCenter). Why? Because they have computer stuff and I like computer stuff. Simple. What can I say... I'm a simple guy. Anyway, as I peruse (sp?) the aisles in search of something I don't need or can't afford, I'm trying desperately to think of something I really "Need". And then it hits me.... my Internet connection sucks! It's not the fault of Rogers (this time!).... it's because my computer's in the den and the den has no coax connection. Sure, there's CAT5 coming out of the wall, but the only coax is in the 2nd bedroom (& master bedroom & living room.... but they're even further). So I figure wireless is my best approach. Or I wire up the whole place seemlessly so every RJ45 jack is a live Internet connection, but since I don't own the place, I don't see the point for the 2 years we're here. On to that product I "need".... So my wireless connection sucks. It's always "low" or non-existent. The back of my PC is a tangle of wires.... including power cables. That alone is enough to create too much interference for a decent connection. Secondly, from the rat's nest where the antenna lives, the direct path to the wireless AP goes through about 6 walls, all on the large enough diagonal that I have to go through an estimated 4 - 8 feet of drywall & concrete. In case you didn't realize this, wireless signals travel in straight lines. Sure, they can bounce (sort of), but for the most part, it's a straight line. Imagine a wall that's 6" thick. You have your wifi card on one side, and your AP directly across from it on the other side. How much "wall" (plaster/concrete/studs/drywall/etc) are you going through? 6". In a scenario where distance is involved, it's the distance between plus 6" of wall slowing down your signal. Now, imagine your AP directly against one side of the wall and your wifi card is directly on the other.... only this time tranpose it about 8' down the wall. Now how much "wall" are you going through now? About 8' !!!! That's why when you're on your cell phone and you get interference, moving a couple feet in a given direction may greatly improve your signal.

OK... I'm WAY off topic, but I hope you learned something about wireless.... especially if you're scamming off your neighbour and you don't know where their AP (access point) is. Triagulate it. Move around and rate your signal.... figure out where you need to be for the best connection. Then, if it makes sense for your computer to be there, perfect. If not, put an antenna there. And if the wire for an antenna would be too far to your PC, put a wireless repeater there to extend their signal. In my case, all I needed to do was get the antenna out of the rat's nest of cables primarily, and secondly focus the antenna in 1 direction. So, I picked up a D-Link ANT24-0600 Directional Antenna. It cost me $40, which didn't seem to bad if it could improve my connection. The timeouts were killing me! So I just hooked it up and my signal is "very good". Full bars now! If it wasn't, I'd have picked up another to blast the signal from my AP to my wifi card, but fortunately I didn't have to go that far. So, what's next? Well, it's time to map out my neighbours' wifi. If it made this much of a difference, I should be able to see the other much clearer.... and for kicks, find out where they are! Since the antenna is directional, I simply rotate it or angle it up/down until I find the sweet spot where the signal spikes to full bars (or atleast up from 1). I found 5 very faint signals without it... now lets see how many there are! Anyway, that's about all I had to say. Yes, really, that was it. See ya! :)

----- 02.16.2006 --------
Twas the night before signing... and all through my condo, my eyes are getting heavy, but I gotta write on though. (OK, that's the best I could rhyme in my tired state). So, tomorrow's the big day! I officially sign the papers to sell my condo. The close date has been moved up to Febuary 24th.... NEXT FRIDAY!!! 8 years I've owned it. But change is good and I'm looking forward to the sale. I still have some stuff in there, but it's all going to good will. I rented a UHaul last weekend and 80K (my cousin) helped me move the rest of my stuff here & to my folks' place in Windsor. THAT was a fun drive! OK, maybe not! 4 hours in a uhaul by yourself? Not all that fun at all! And even less fun was moving my couch! It must of taken us 20 minutes to wedge it out of my condo. And then in Windsor it was even less fun move the other couches around to accomodate it. Thanks again to my Dad for his muscle!

Last night I stayed at the Westin Harbour Castle. We had management meetings for work so every manager from Toronto, as well as our Montreal & Vancouver branches attended. They were some really good session and a lot of good ideas will come from it. It's nice to be home now. Even though it was only 1 night away, it's nice to be home. Tomorrow I'm back to work and then it's another weekend.... already! Man, the weeks are flying by!!! This weekend is a work weekend unfortunately. More server migrations/upgrades. We're getting close to finishing the migration of our physical boxes into VM's running on VMWare ESX Server 2.5.1. Awesome technology! Hopefully all goes well and we're not in there ALL weekend!

OK, now some fun stuff. I came across some really cool sites. Lately I've been updating my links page as much as usual. Heck, I haven't been updating the rest of my site either, but that's besides the point. So, here's one of some really cool illusions of rooms. Awesome painting.... awesome concept! Here's another one... weird, but entertaining. Tattooed Bananas! And one more... just in case you haven't seen it yet. Clearly google's appetite extends beyond just google earth. Here's Google Moon! I am still waiting for Google Universe. I'm sure they'll have some 3D mapping of the stars & solar system & beyond. That would be cool to navigate through! Come on Google, step up to the challenge, will ya already?!?!?!? OK.... I hope that was entertaining enough to hold you over till my next post. Cheers!

----- 02.08.2006 --------
I got the call I was waiting for today. My condo deal is "firm" (as they say in the "industry"). I love "quotes". The last pieces of the deal were accepted by the buyer and my condo is officially his on February 28th. So, tonight I'm going to go over and pack the rest of my stuff up. This weekend I'm renting a uHaul to move for the last time for a couple years (I hope!). Ya, I know.... world's LONGEST move, but that's alright.... it's given us time to find places for everything. "Places", such as the 2nd bedroom.... currently a storage locker/computer room. Soon enough, we'll have it equipped w/ a couch too, one that becomes a bed so we can accomdate guests. What else is new? Oh ya..... out facility here at our new place is ALMOST open!!! Tomorrow is our building's open-house of the new facility. From our condo, it looks great! We have a great view of the pool, which has been teasing us for over a month now but alas my bathing suit is still packed away and dry. Not for long!!! Anyway, that's all for now. Hope you're all well. Cheers!

----- 02.03.2006 --------
Well, we've got some furniture in and "dinner parties" are in full effect. Jen's got a couple friends coming over for dinner tonight. I've barely met them before, but it should be a good time. So, I'm just killing a little time as I await their arrival. I was just chatting w/ a buddy and he introduced me to a new service called Hamachi. It's pretty wicked! From a technical point of view, it's pretty damn amazing! Zero-config VPN! Instant LAN over the Internet. I suggest you check it out. Great for laying a quick framework for some online games! Anyway, I better get runnin..... Later!


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