Category Archives: Uncategorized

Comments

The vast majority of comments to any blog I would expect are spam engines.  That is why I make sure that every comment gets approved before you see it.  However I do check all of my comments (or at least, those that the Spam engines do not catch) and post them immediately… even if I do not like what they are saying.

This week-end I got a notification that there was a comment waiting for approval, and I could see by the notification that it was spam.  I opened the app on my phone, and wrongly assumed that the comment that came first would be the one I had been notified about.  I blindly (or nearly so) marked it as spam, never to be seen again.

Unfortunately I was mistaken, and the comment that I blew away was not the most recent one.  I accidentally marked a perfectly valid comment as spam.  Mistakes happen, and I apologize.  It was the weekend after all! :)  No excuse, but accidents happen.  Sorry!

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1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours

Mitch Garvis:

I found Japan to be among the most organized places I have ever been. I am not going to say that everything is efficient – there were a lot of ridiculous wastes that I discovered. However when they want to get things done, that is a country that knows how to do it. I spent a lot of time at the Shibuya Station that is discussed in this article. How amazing to see what they did. To be clear, I was there AFTER this had happened… and I never even knew about it until I read it here! -MDG

Originally posted on RocketNews24:

さよなら地上駅舎_東横線渋谷駅-2013_3_15−3_16 相直までの1日を振り返るドキュメント_-_YouTube2

On March 15, 2013, the Shibuya Station Toyoko Line above-ground train quietly shut down for good, to be replaced with a new section of subway track connecting Shibuya Station and the nearby Daikanyama Station. Converting the line from above-ground to underground was a massive operation, requiring a grand total of 1,200 engineers and countless man-hours.

But, even if you’d been living in Tokyo at the time, you probably wouldn’t have noticed the construction, because it all occurred during the train line’s off-hours… over the course of one single night.

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Progress… The Excruciating Pace of Progress

Originally posted on Losing a part of me:

I know I am losing weight.  How do I know it?  Because every two weeks I go to the Wharton Weight Management Clinic and they weigh me, and with a single exception (after my recent trip to Seattle) my weight has been lower every visit since the beginning of June.

So why is it that when I weigh myself every morning on my own Fitbit Aria Scale I seem to be around the same weight?

Simple… Every weight loss and diet specialist I have ever spoken to has told me that you should not weigh yourself every day.  Why not?  A few reasons.  For one, weight loss sometimes works with a sort of ‘time delay…’ I have in the past been able to eat a plate of wings on Tuesday, and on Wednesday there is no weight gain; Thursday or Friday however it shows up.  The same is true of the opposite - I…

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Out of Band Security Updates

If you run Windows Server this is very important.  Microsoft released today a number of out-of-band security updates for Microsoft Windows.  From what I have read, these patches (One of my servers has 14 applicable updates since 3am) will be applied to Windows clients as well as Windows Servers, but the vulnerability it protects is only in Windows Server.  I have a bit more information but because it is the middle of a busy work day I cannot go into it… but if you are a server admin I strongly recommend you take some time to look at these patches, test them, and apply them ASAP… the two week deadline setting in WSUS is probably not good enough for these ones ;)

Microsoft is not a company that does anything out-of-band for no good reason… if it has gone to the trouble of releasing these patches I suspect they are protecting something pretty serious so make sure you look into them – you can be certain that the hackers are!

Traveling Sucks

Originally posted on Losing a part of me:

Okay, that is a very misleading title. The reality is that when done in moderation traveling is great. Most of us enjoy it, anyways. But with regard to weight loss and keeping fit, it is crap.

I knew leading up to my trip to Seattle that I could eat healthy and maintain my diet; I knew that I could get up early and go to the hotel gym before my sessions started, and that I could walk as much as possible throughout the day. I also knew that in all likelihood that was not going to happen… and sure enough, it didn’t. So really my goal for the week was to maintain my current weight, and not gain five pounds.

Of course it starts at the airport before you even get onto the plane. If you are a frequent flier then there is a good chance that you have access…

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Remembrance Day / Veterans’ Day

Ninety-six years ago today at 11:00am the guns fell silent.  The Great War was over.  Unfortunately like every successful movie there was a sequel, and as usual it was much worse than the original.  War has been a part of our world since time immemorial, and to this day we dream of a day when that will no longer be the case.

I would like to invite you all to join me this morning in standing for two minutes of silence.  On Remembrance Day every year those of us who served, and especially those of us who served in combat, ask you to join us to remember our friends, our brothers, who did not make it back.  We ask you to join us for two minutes every year to remember those that we remember every day – every minute of every day – of our lives.

To many the phrases like ‘All gave some, some gave all’ is a catchy phrase.  For those of us who lost friends, whose friends came back missing limbs, who came back with a darkened soul, it is much more than that.  We did not do what we did for honour or glory or the medals that would decorate our chests and eventually find a place in a drawer,  We did it in the hope that our children would not have to.

There will never be another ‘Great World War’ like 1914 and 1939 – the nuclear age and the dissolution of the nuclear superpowers saw to that.  The wars of the immediate past and of the future are very different and for some that makes it harder to recognize them as wars, but they are wars and the toll they take on our soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen is just as harsh; often because of the reception back home it is much harsher and lasts much longer.

Today I ask you to stand at 11:00am with me.  You don’t have to salute and you don’t have to stand at attention, but stand and do not fidget.  Remember the men  and women who put their lives in harm’s way so that our world can be free of tyranny and oppression.  Remember those who got onto boats, planes, trains, and busses to go meet the enemy so that you, your parents, and your grandparents could be safe.  Remember those buried in the fields of Flanders, Ypres, Dieppe, Normandy, and hundreds of other fields beneath crosses and stars and too often unmarked ground… in Europe, the Pacific, in Africa and the Middle East.  On the ground and at sea, they served so that we could live free.

Perhaps the most famous poem that honours our fallen soldiers is by a Canadian named John McCrae.  He served in World War I, was a physician and held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  He fought in the Second Boer War earlier, and when the Great War broke out in 1914 he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force.  Although he was a doctor he opted to join a combat unit, and while he was also the medical officer he was also a gunner.  He believed in duty, and fought for his country and for the British Empire.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the skyflanders field
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

LtCol McCrae died in January, 1918… he did not see the end of the Great War, nor the publication of his famous verses. We remember him, along with all of the rest.

Lest we forget those who fought for us, protected us, died for us.

SSgt M.D. ‘Taz’ Garvis

When Your World is Very Small…

Pearson In my first year as a Road Warrior Glenn Fincher and I were I were in the Rental Car Shuttle heading to the terminal at Charlotte International Airport.  It had been another successful delivery, and except for the fact that he threatened to leave me at the diner where we had breakfast unless I ate grits, it was a very successful week and one that led to a casual friendship with a respected colleague.  There was a woman on the shuttle with us who proclaimed for all to hear that ‘…this has to be the absolute worst airport in these United States.’  Glenn and I looked at each other and smiled… he had a lot more miles under his belt than I did, but I wasn’t quite new.  I suspect we were both thinking the same thing.  ‘Then I suppose you’ve never flown out of Chicago O’Hare?’ I asked.  ‘Oh dear Lord no… I have but never traveled north of the Mason Dixon Line… I am a true southerner!’

In the seven years or so since that interaction my horizons have expanded greatly.  I have traveled a lot more extensively, across six continents.  Let’s just say that I have come to appreciate O’Hare, for having seen much worse airports.

Saturday afternoon I flew in from Seattle, Washington.  Now I should mention that of the myriad airports around the world, I have a real appreciation for SeaTac… especially after the recent renovations that have made it even better organized, and even more efficient.  It truly is a well planned and run airport.  As I waited at the baggage terminal I heard two younger gentlemen talking next to me, complaining about how long it was going to take our bags to come out.  I was the first passenger off our plane to arrive at the carrousel, and I had not been waiting more than three minutes.  ‘Don’t make any plans, we might be here a while.  This is absolutely the worst airport I have ever been to, especially with regard to baggage handling.’

I looked at them for and smirked. ‘You’ve never been to Bogota, have you?’  Of course the answer was no.

I thought back to the day that I got off the plane in Colombia.  I had been in transit for what felt like a hundred hours, and because it was the first leg of three weeks in South and Central America I had the appropriate amount of fresh clothes, not to mention my personal laptop and my Mobile Datacentre – two 17” HP laptops that ran my servers, along with the switches, cables, and power adaptors.  I was standing at the appropriate baggage carrousel and somehow came to discover that the man standing next to me and I shared a common language.  We struck up a conversation in Hebrew, but he told me that even while we were chatting to keep an eye on the carrousel. ‘If your bags go around once and you don’t grab it, they take it off the carrousel in the back… immediately.  You might get it back later… once they have rifled through your things and decided what they like and what they don’t.’  Nearly an hour later when my luggage finally came through (in one piece) I was relieved… and thanked my Israeli friend who was still waiting for his.

I do not remember the exact story of what happened when I got off the plane in Sao Paolo (Brazil), but I do remember that it took close to two hours to get out of the airport from the time I got off the plane until I was in line for a taxi… and that was just after midnight local time.  I got into my hotel room at 2:45am.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (YYZ) has its good days and its bad, and I am not saying that it is perfect… believe me, far from it.  But when we call something out we should put it into perspective.  I understand why these guys were badmouthing the service there… I have done it too.  But how bad is it really?  Probably somewhere in the middle of the pack.  For years I badmouthed Vancouver International – in the years leading up to the Olympic Games there is was a disastrous madhouse.  Now?  Much better.  Is O’Hare really as bad as some of us say it is?  It is certainly a madhouse, and compared to the busiest airport in the country (Atlanta) it is a bit disorganized, but it also has a lot more snow days that does Hartsfield-Jackson would. 

What those airports have going for it, Toronto does not.  YYZ is the home base (and hub) of a single major carrier – Air Canada.  No other airport calls it home.  Sure, it is the entry port to Canada for a lot of people and goods, but for an airport as singularly important as it is it does not get a great deal of respect.  Important how? According to Wikipedia it is the world’s 35th busiest airport by total passenger traffic, 23rd busiest by international traffic, and 18th busiest by total flights.  For those of us in the IT industry, imagine a company of ten people being tasked with running Microsoft IT.  They do the best with what they have, and sometimes they succeed and sometimes they do not.  Yes, I have gotten off a long flight and waited 45 minutes for my bag to come out… on the wrong carrousel.

…Not bad for an airport that was never meant to be the main hub of Canada – when it was originally planned it was Montreal that was Canada’s primary airport.

Can Pearson improve?  Sure.  Can we all?  Probably.  Is it good enough?  I think so.  Would I be happy paying $20 more per flight for that improvement?  No.  I really do think that they do a pretty good job… even though you do hear me complain about it from time to time.

Bon Voyage!