The miscellaneous ramblings and thoughts of Dan G. Switzer, II

Track My Days Left Being Employed!

I added a little "Employment Tracker" to the top of the page which will countdown the number of days I have left at my current job—provided they don't decide to walk in and shorten my stay further. :)

Article: Slammer Virus

Wired Magazine has a cool article on how the Slammer Virus really brought the 'net down to it's knees.

Article: Slammed!

PHP 5.0.0 Beta 1 Released

PHP 5 has gone into public beta 1. It's been a while since I've used PHP, so I'll probably try to check this version out in my spare time—which I may have an abundance of in the coming months.

One of the key new features of PHP 5 is it support for Abstract Classes and Methods. While this is nice and all, I'm not sure that PHP is the right language to be doing intensive business logic in. I view PHP much like I view ColdFusion—being primiarily a presentational language. Granted, CFMX now has components, but Java just seems like a more natural choice to rely on for enterprise level processing.

"Do Not Call" Registery Now Online

While the "National Do Not Call Registry" went online today—at least according to their website. The site has been very unresponsive most of the day. I suspect their either having load problems with the site—or somebody's flooding the site w/packet requests trying to crash the server.

If you're not sure what the "Do Not Call" registry is, then go check out my previous blog entry. In a nutshell, this is the Gov't sponsered list that you sign up to in order to get telemarketers to stop cold calling you. I'm putting my number on there—you should too!

National Do Not Call Registry

My job has been "abolished"...

Ok, so last night I'm sitting at my desk getting a lot of work done—I'm finishing up some contract work that's due Monday. Low and behold I get an e-mail from the director of our organization—he wants to meet with me in the morning. I immediately have a bad feeling about this—especially considering the fact he's never sat down and talk to me. Anyway, I sent an IM to a follow co-worker in my department to see if he got a similar message, and he did. Again I'm thinking to myself, "this isn't good."

You see finances at my current employer have been pretty bad. We had a former director who pretty much spent all of our capital and used up our reserve funds like they were going out of style. On top of that, there's been legislation on the table at the State level that essentially says: Gov't funded entities can't compete with private industries. I understand this and from an entrepreneur standpoint, but this has pretty much tied our hands with who we can do business with as a web group working for my current employer. So the last year has been pretty rough—at least as far as bringing in real cash to the department. We've stayed busy, but it's all been very nickle and dime projects—enough to keep you busy, but not enough to really cover costs. We already had one round of layoffs last year, and although management had insisted that there we no foreseeable cutbacks in the future, I've been through this before (although never have been affected by layoffs,) so I know how the process works—there's almost always a second round of layoffs.

Anyway, there's been a lot of buzz around the office. Quite frankly, every since last October-ish, my group has been through a roller coaster of emotions. One week it looks like our jobs are secure, the next it looks like we won't make it until the end of the week. We're in the middle of several contracts that would taken us through December, so as of recent time, I thought we'd be safe until the end of the year. (Also, since our fiscal year starts July 1st of each year, I figured they would have down layoffs to coincide with people ending their tenure at the end of the fiscal year.)


Home Phone Outage: SBC Can Bite Me...

SBC/Ameritech—or whatever they're called now—has really pissed me off. I haven't recieved my last two bills—which are supposed to be sent electronically. Anyway, the bills hadn't shown up for the past couple of months (May & June) via e-mail. I didn't notice in May that I hadn't paid the bill. Normally I rely on getting the bill to remind me of it and when it never showed up, it just slipped my mind. Well, I didn't get a June bill electronically either, but I got an invoice-looking envelope (SBC's bills come in a very distinct envelope) from them around the June 20th. I assumed this was my June bill, so put it aside to pay after I get paid this Friday. Granted, I should open all my mail the day it comes in, but the majority of the stuff I get is junk mail and unless the letter jumps out at me that it needs my attention, I'll open everything up later on.

Anyway, SBC decided to disconnect my home phone Monday night because I hadn't paid the bills—which was essentially just one month missed, May (since the June bill isn't due yet.) I can see shutting off service if I've gone months without paying, but the bare minimum that a phone company should do is to call you to warn you of disconnect service.

So, anyway, SBC wants like a $36 service fee to re-activate the account. I told them that while I certainly should have noticed not getting a bill, them not calling me before disconnect was extremely bad customer service. My response from them was "How do we know that a billing problem has occurred if you don't call us?" Well, my answer to that would be, "Well, the fact that a customer under good standings suddenly didn't pay his bills." That's really besides the point, the bare minimum they should have done is called and left a message—a machine calling would have been fine. If it would have been flagged to my attention, I would have called them immediately.


Free Software: Xenu's Link Sleuth™

Today on CF-Talk, Scott Wilhelm posted a link to a good link checker called Xenu's Link Sleuth. The price is right on the program—it's free—and from the brief playing around I did with the software, it seems to do a really good job of spidering dynamic web sites. So, if you looking for a good link checker/validator, check it out.

Xenu's Link Sleuth v1.2d

"Radio Station"-In-A-Box!

Travelmedia is about ready to unveil a new product called World Vibrations—which they label as a "radio station-in-a-box.".

There's almost nothing on Travelmedia's website about this product—and at the moment the World Vibrations website just contains a page with the domain name on it. However, there's a good video on ZDNet's site about the product.

For about $2200 dollars, you're going to get everything you need to run a private radio station. If you can get an FCC license, they say you can buy a transmitter for it, but by default it comes with everything you need to stream the audio over the 'net. The playlist features look pretty cool—it'll allow you to do anything a regular radio station would: program playlist in advance, play things at a certain time, pre-record announcements, do live broadcasts etc.


The Weekend Was Awesome...

First off, this weekend was awesome! I'm going to back date my entries for each day. So, you'll want to look backwards through the log to find out what happened each day. This may be against "blogging" standards, but this is my blog, and it's the way I want the entries in. (Plus I tend to be long winded, so it makes sense to me to break the entries up.)

I tried to put as many links to the pictures I took as possible. Hopefully each link is to a unique picture. Also make sure to check out the My Photo Album for all the pictures. There are some really good ones that I haven't linked to. I should be getting back the .35mm pictures Jenn took as well, so there's 3 more rolls of film to post! Oh yeah, and there are also some new Quicktime movies that I posted from the trip.

Blog Entries


Weekend Trip Pictorial...

Ok, I got all the pictures (and Quicktime movies) taken with my digital camera posted from our weekend trip. We've got some more pictures getting developed that Jenn took with her 35mm camera. We should have those pictures tomorrow night. I'm writing up the synopsis of the trip and will post it in the next 24 hours.

In the meantime, go see what Jenn had to say about our weekend trip on her blog.

Ok, I got my notes on the trip completed. I back-dated the entries so they'll appear under the current entry.

Hocking Hills: Sunday...

We both slept in on Sunday. I don't think either of us wanted to get up, because then we knew we'd have to pack up to go home. Maddie didn't even want to get out of bed. We ended up getting up just before 9am. We ended up having bagels for breakfast.

After breakfast, I played my GBA for a bit—while Jenn was packing. She was nice enough to get all the packing done—she even ended up packing up most of the car as well. What a girlfriend, huh? :)

Anyway, we took some pictures of the area around the cabin, and then called Dan & Darlene to let them know we were checking out. I think we left the cabin right around 11am.


Hocking Hills: Saturday...

I ended up waking up about 6:30am on Saturday. I didn't intend to wake up that early, but Maddie had to go to the bathroom and she was afraid of the stairs—not only did she have problems with traction (the stairs were slick,) but they also had no vertical back, so I don't think she could really see the stairs.

I debated going back to bed, but decided I'd make pancake batter now—that way it had time to rise. Maddie and I sat on the couch for a bit after I made the batter. I realized then that I hadn't brought syrup, but fortunately we had plenty of jams & jellies from our trip to Bob Evans the night before. After letting the batter rise for about 20 minutes, I started cooking the sausage and pancakes. Once I got that all cooked, I went upstairs and woke Jenn up. I then made the eggs—Jenn wanted "over easy" and I made scrambled eggs for myself.

After breakfast we decided to head to Cedar Falls. Since the day was supposed to be nice (and the nicest day in a couple of months down in region,) we figured we better get an early start on the day. Since it was still pretty chilly, we put jeans on, packed up the car and headed to Cedar Falls.


Hocking Hills: Friday...

Ok, we got to the Log Cabin around 6:30pm. The trip was fairly uneventful, except I turned into the wrong campgrounds at first. (I thought Darlene told me to turn left at the sign, but she told me right, then left. What can I say, I didn't write it down and I talked to her on Monday.) Taking the wrong turn allowed us to get up and personal with a doe that was eating grass in the gravel road. The hills up that driveway were pretty steep to—I bottomed out a couple of times.

When we got to the cabin, Jenn & I unloaded the car and I headed into the City of Logan to find a grocery store—I wanted to pick up some eggs, milk and some alcohol. On the way back, I stopped at Bob Evans and got us dinner. We had planned to pick food up for dinner, and Bob Evans sounded better than fast food.

Maddie spent the remainder of the evening exploring the area around the cabin. I let her run free since there wasn't anything around. She never left view of the cabin, which is why I continued to let her run free all weekend. I think she had a blast exploring.


Dan Switzer™: Show me the money!

Ok, this web site really ticks me off. I think I'll hire Johnny Cochron to sue the guy—just like how Spike Lee is suing Spike TV over the use of the name "Spike." I don't know about you, but the first thing I think about when I hear the name "Dan Switzer" is me (or maybe my dad, or grandpa—we all share the same name, but that's besides the point.) I definitely don't think of this dude at all. Johnny Cochron, SHOW ME THE MONEY!

Ok, hopefully you caught on to my sarcasim here. The whole Spike Lee thing is such a stupid lawsuit. He's trying up the court systems for a completely frivious law suit. That really irritates me to no end.

Seriously, I do hate that website, it makes the "Dan Switzer's" of the world not look not so good at web design. :)

It's Friday!!!

Well, today's starting off a beautiful day outside. The skies are blue and clear and it looks like it'll be a warm, sunny day out—a great way to start a weekend vacation! I'm a little sleepy today, I was up until past 1am doing laundry. Any more that's really late for me.

I'm leaving work a little early today to try to finish packing and getting everything ready to go. I'd like to stop and get a pair of shoes for hiking, but I may skip that if time is short. I don't *need* new shoes, but I'd rather not ruin my good tennis shoes walking in the water and mud. Also, I talked to my neighbors and they're keeping a watch on the house for me.

I also finally got to cutting the grass yesterday. In the past 10 days, it's either been raining, to wet to cut, I haven't been home until too late, or Chemlawn showed up to spray the grass. (How come it always seems Chemlawn shows up the day you plan on cutting the grass?)