Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

New version of Experts Exchange

13.03.2012 14:22

Most of you might’ve caught that I’m a techie by now. In my day job, I work with computers and computer networks; my daily tasks consist of both system administration and project management (on a few software development projects in our company). Any way to find solutions to tasks I’m involved with does me a bit of good. I’m mostly partial to Google, but quite often, a site called Experts Exchange comes up in the search results.

Experts Exchange is a site where experts can get help from other experts with tech problems (and earn points for helping others), and I’m actually one of those who have asked for help and found it useful.

Recently, I discovered that they had given their site a major overhaul, and I have to admit that it looks even better now (it did look good before the upgrade, too).

If you’re in the computer tech industry, you might find it helpful as well. If you haven’t already give ’em a try. If you have, check out their new upgraded look.

The New Experts Exchange is Here! Experience EE v.10!

A leap ahead

29.02.2012 18:39

As most of you know, today’s a leap day, and I figured it was about time I updated the few readers I have with what’s been going on since my last update. Since before the cross-over into the new year, I’ve had a few things happen in my life.

iPad and external harddriveMy last update was back in late December, and that same week, I got the iPad 2 I was promised from my office (“day job”, so to speak), as a thanks for the big effort (and late working days) earlier in the year. I’ve previously mentioned my disgust for Apple, and that I wouldn’t go out and buy their products based on their policies and how the appear to treat customers and software developers on their platforms. That said, I wouldn’t pass up the chance of getting one of their products as a gift, which I did just before the new year arrived. It was especially appreciated that the iPad 2 I got was the 3G+WiFi edition with 64 GB storage. And during our annual dinner (with all of the colleagues), we all received an external 2 TB USB drive each, as a belated Christmas gift from our workplace (since this dinner was in mid-January).

Since that time, I’ve noticed that I’ve used my laptop and smartphone less, and transferred some of that time over to my new iPad. With it, I’ve played games, managed servers at work, read e-mail, looked up information I was looking for, viewed videos and updated myself on social media. This, to a much greater extent than what I found possible with my small smartphone screen. I noticed that I would do much of the same whether I got an iPad or an Android tablet device, as this fills a small need for having information on the go. With the iPad, I’ve also been promised a SIM card for mobile broadband (which I’m still waiting for), so I won’t be locked down to having a WiFi network nearby.

I also notice that this will be the perfect device to bring with me on vacation, instead of lugging around on a laptop.

Also new this year, I’ve started on a weight loss program back in January. This first round of 8 weekly meetings wrapped this past Monday, and I’m already enrolled in the next round, starting Monday next week. This particular program, called Roedemetoden (named after the founder, Grete Roede), focuses on losing weight slowly (to avoid health problems underway), and eating right (and healthy). It’s not only about how much you eat, but also about how you spread your meals across the day, and regular exercise (even a long walk counts as proper exercising). After doing some quick research, I suppose it’s similar to Weight Watchers (although not quite the same).

Over the last 8 weeks, I’ve lost a total of 8.5 kg (roughly 18.7 pounds), which is something I can live with. Since my BMI is still over 60 at this time, I’ve already come to grips with the fact that this will take time. Based on my current progress, calculations suggest that I would reach the goal of a normal weight at the end of next year.

And, almost two weeks ago, I turned 32. I had family over for dinner and dessert, and that was about it. It may not seem much, but it’s all I need, honestly. I’m just not that much of a party person, really.

All in all, I now have a much brighter outlook on life.

Another year over

29.12.2011 15:34

Christmas is more or less gone (at least the climax of it), and another year is almost over. I can’t help but wonder what 2012 will bring. New Year’s Eve usually has that effect on me, and I assume I’m not the only one who does.

As usual, this year’s Christmas catch was modest, and I don’t mind at all. This year, I got a large tea cup, two mugs, two small plates (which goes with several tea cups I already have with a similar design), some licorice/cinnamon tea (Pukka brand, not pictured) that was actually quite good, a small bath towel, a concrete @-sign decoration (which unfortunately broke the second after I had opened it due to bad packaging, also not pictured), a luxury soap with bath towel, a fleece hat, a scarf, and some DVDs. Out of DVDs, I got Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows parts 1 and 2, Hodejegerne (a Norwegian thriller released earlier this year), Cars 2 (Blu-ray+DVD edition), and the two first seasons of NCIS. All of these DVDs were on my wishlist, but I’m going to exchange Cars 2 and one of the last Harry Potter films, since already got Cars 2 about a week or so before Christmas, and I got two out of Deathly Hallows part 2. No biggie, though, as they’re in “exchangeable” condition (sealed). And, as usual, I got another thing I wanted, which is on my list every year: Time spent with family.

I can’t help but notice a disgusting trend recently making rounds of well-deserved ridicule around the Internet, though. Namely, the high number of spoiled brats who complain about getting or not getting an iPhone/iPad/iPod, laptop/MacBook or even car, or getting the wrong one of these. I’m simply baffled that people can be that selfish and spoiled to feel depressed about something so materialistic when there are people in the world who don’t have a great life. People who don’t have a home, who don’t have a family, who don’t have enough food or clothes, who don’t have safety and security, who don’t get presents, or even a combination of these. And I’m not just talking about people in poor and/or war-torn countries in the so-called second or third world, but also domestically in the so-called Western civilization. There are people who spend Christmas alone, not because they choose to, or because that happened to be the case this year, but because they don’t have anyone to spend it with, even if they desperately want to. There are people who consider “a great Christmas” to be shelter and food for the day, or maybe even the whole week, and when I see people complain about such high-priced gifts, I feel like whacking them with a clue stick. I mean, at least you got something! If you don’t like it, you still have to option to exchange it for that other thing you might’ve wanted!

When it comes to helping those in need, I feel that organizations like the Salvation Army does help a lot. I may not agree with them in religious or political terms, but I do believe they do a lot of great work for the less fortunate people in the local community (in terms of food, heat, and to some degree, shelter). I did contribute my small share to their Christmas kettle in the weeks leading up to Christmas. It wasn’t much on the larger scale of things, but I did at least contribute something, and I hope they will keep doing the good work they do. And they do it without pushing religion onto those they help, which is a big reason I like their work.

To sum up, be thankful for what you have, be even more thankful for other things you get, and hope the new year only have good things in store for us. And to make my wish a little early: Happy New Year! ūüôā

The time is here again!

21.12.2011 19:01

It’s that time of year again, when we celebrate Christmas. I may have said it before, but I’m not religious, but I respect those who are (and those who respect others with different religions and lifestyles). I’m not a believer in Jesus Christ as the great saviour of all, but I do believe he existed in history. There are other sources than the Bible that confirms that he existed, and that he was professing his religious beliefs.

To me, Christmas is a winter tradition. Jesus don’t really have that much to do with it, other than what people make of it. About one and a half millennia ago, the church decided that the birth of Jesus was to be celebrated in December, corresponding with the already-existing winter solstice festival (Yuletide). In fact, the Norwegian word for the Christmas time is “Jul” (pronounced roughly the same as the word “Yule”), and I stand by it. Like I said, it’s a winter tradition for me and my family, and I celebrate it with joy. Not the parts that have to do with Jesus (although I understand that some people might want to keep connecting this time of year to his birth), but with the togetherness, generosity, light and warmth that comes with this tradition.

On Christmas Eve, we go through the same ritual as ever; mellow out, eat candy, watch some traditional TV shows we always (and only) do on Christmas Eve, pay my respects to my gone grandparents (on my father’s side) at their grave, Christmas dinner with “svineribbe” (pork ribs) and “f√•reribbe” (mutton ribs) together with my family, coffee/tea and Christmas cookies afterwards, relaxing together and finally, opening presents.

It’s only a few days away now, and my Christmas shopping is also at its end. I only have a few small gifts left to buy, and I’m still waiting for another item to arrive. All in all, I think I have a good handle on things. If not, I’ll be stressing out on Friday for that gift that’s supposed to be in the mail by now.

In any case, I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas! God Jul! Buorit Juovllat! ¬°Feliz Navidad! Buon Natale! Joyeux No√ęl! Hyv√§√§ Joulua! Frohe Weihnachten! С Рождеством! Vrolijk Kerstfeest!

Bless You, Gabriel

02.12.2011 00:43

Earlier this week, I was on a brisk walk from my workplace to my doctor’s office. I was running about 10 minutes late (and since no taxi cab available for at least another 15 minutes, I had to walk), I was my doc’s last appointment for the day, and on the way, I was being stopped by some guy who made a quick comment about my yellow rain hat (it was raining and blowing, and as someone from Denmark, he seemed to want to know what it was called in Norwegian). He kept on talking, I was stressed out, and he casually mentioned that he was a monk (he didn’t look like it, but then again, it was cold), and was spreading the word of true yoga. I really didn’t have the time, so I had to cut him short if I wasn’t going to be too late for my appointment. The next day, I ran into him again, at the same location, and I was waiting for the bus onwards to work (it was another bad weather day, but at least it wasn’t raining). He started talking again, showed the book he was handing out, and again, finally asked for a donation of some coins (just so he could cover his travels). As the bus was arriving, and about to leave, I had to cut his speech short, but not before he handed me his book and kept badgering me for some money. I only had some small coins in my wallet, so I handed it off to him. Frankly, I was annoyed at him, I was the last passenger coming onto the bus, and this monk guy was holding me back.

Later in the day, after coming home, I tried finding out what the hell this thing was, and reading the inside cover (where the title, copyright and ISBN is listed), I found a reference to the Hare Krishna movement (by its offical name, ISKCON). I mean, if you found your religion, I’m fine with it, but please don’t go around pushing your agenda on random strangers like that. Most people find it annoying.

I’ll keep the book, though. It’s likely to collect dust at the back of my shelf, I might pull it out some time, just to get a more thorough understanding of that religion (which would be around the same time I get my own Bible and Koran for my bookshelf). I’m not taking the trouble to walk around with it, trying to find the guy again so I can return it, it’s just not worth the extra effort.

On the brighter side of this week, I just got the “Stand-Up Revolution” DVD (with Gabriel Iglesias, aka. “Fluffy”, and his friends) I ordered from Amazon.com two weeks ago.

It has 2 DVDs in it, has the complete ¬†8 episodes of the show from Comedy Central, and has Fluffy himself, plus 18 of his stand-up comedy friends (according to the cover). While I’m writing this, I’m about half-way through the whole thing, and I’m enjoying every second of it!

If you ever come across Fluffy’s stuff, I can recommend it 100%. I’m just sorry I missed out while he was in Norway last month (it was in Bergen, and I found out about it only a few days before the show). I hope I’ll be able to meet him in person some day, though.

In other news, Christmas time is off to a start, and present shopping is officially well into it’s second lap. I already have two presents down, and several others to go.

I’ll get back with an update later, I guess.

99 Questions

30.11.2011 23:34

A few days ago, someone close to me posted a list of 99 questions on her blog, along with her own answers, and I figured it might be something I could do as well. The questions range from whimsical to personal, so I translated the questions (since the ones she posted were in Norwegian) so I wouldn’t have to limit myself to a Norwegian audience.

Also, the more perceptive of you would notice that this list only goes up to 95. That’s because that while I was going down the list, I found some numbers missing. If you want to pitch in your own questions, do let me know, either in the comments or on my contact page.

Anyway, here goes.

1. The last thing you drank: Red Bull from a can
2. The last person you called: A work colleague (on my way to work)
3. The last received SMS (text message): Lene (my oldest little sister).
4. The last song you listened to: Blue Man Group – Booty Shaker Finale from New York (at least that’s what I think it’s called)
5. The last time you danced: Monday, I think (if you can truly call it dancing)

YES OR NO:
6. Would you have a relationship with someone of the same gender as yourself: No (just not my kind of bag, babe)
7.  Have you ever cheated on your partner: Nope
8. Have you ever taken something from your parent(s) without them knowing: Yes
9. Have you ever eaten something poisonous: Yes (in the sense that I’ve eaten something that’s poisonous to me, aka. something I’m allergic to)

EITHER OR:
10. Dancing or singing: Singing
11. Coke or Pepsi: Yes, please
12. Strawberries or raspberries: Strawberries
13. Facebook or Myspace: Facebook
14. Black or white: Black

THIS YEAR:
15. Have you made any new friends: Oh, yes. Thanks to the fan meet in New York. ūüôā
16. Stopped falling in love: Not at all
17. Laughed until you cried: Oh, yes

JUST NOW:
18. Met someone who’s changed your life: Unfortunately, no
19. Found out who your real friends are: No
20. Found out that someone has been talking behind your back: No
21. Kissed someone from your top friends list: No

TRUTH:
22. How many children would you like: 3
23. Do you have any pets: No
24. Do you want to change your name: Not really (but I wouldn’t mind adopting a stage name)
25. How did you celebrate your last birthday: At home with my family
26. When did you wake up this morning: Around 8:30
27. What were you doing at midnight last night: Taking a cab home from the office
28. Mention something you CANNOT wait for: The Christmas spirit, and the next paycheck
29. The last time you saw your dad: About a month ago
30. What would you change in your life: Where I live, and my bank account (the two go closer together than you’d actually realize…)
31. What are you listening to right now: The background noise from the server room at the office (server fans)
32. Have you ever talked to someone named Victoria: Yes, but that was a long time ago
33. What’s hitting your nerve right now: Not being able to leave work earlier than this
34. What is your real name: Look around, and you’ll figure it out eventually
35. Relationship status: Single, unfortunately
36. Sign: Aquarius
37. Boy or girl: Boy, sort of (“man” would be the technically correct answer, though)
38. Age: 31
39. High school: Skarb√łvik Ungdomsskole (equivalent level to high school)
40. College: Fagerlia videregående skole, allmenne fag (equivalent level to college)
41. Hair color: Black (slightly brighter during the summer, though)
42. Long or short hair: Short
43. Height: 171 cm (or about 5 feet 7.5 inches)
44. Are you infatuated by someone: Yes, a little bit
45. Piercings: None
46. Tattoos: None
47. Left-handed or right-handed: Right-handed

WOULD YOU:
48. Kiss a friend’s girlfriend: Nope, too much respect
49. Sleep alone under the open sky: Yes, but it depends on the weather
50. Dump a friend in front of your girlfriend: No (and it’s more hypothetical at this time)
51. Streak across the court at a sports event just to get on TV: No chance in hell
52. Spend a whole day shopping: No
53. Kiss someone of the same gender: I’d be fine with it
54. Touch the chest of someone of the same gender: I’d be fine with it
55. Exposed yourself to someone you love on the web: No
56. Named a child after yourself: No
57. Run 10 km (a little over 6 miles) just to see someone you love: No (at least not at my current health – I’d walk that same distance, though)

RIGHT NOW:
58. Eating: Nothing
59. Drinking: That same Red Bull I mentioned earlier
60. Going to: Go home from the office
61. Waiting for: A chance to stop working today
62. Listening to: Nothing special (aside from that background noise)

YOUR FUTURE:
63. Want children: Oh, yes
64. Want to be married: Not necessary (but would be willing to if my future partner really wants it)

THE BEST ABOUT THE OPPOSITE SEX:
65. Lips or eyes: Eyes
66. Kiss or hug: Kiss
67. Taller or shorter: Shorter (but not that important)
68. Older or younger: Younger, or around the same age as myself
69. Romantic or spontaneous: A little bit of both
70. Nice tummy or nice arms: If I had to choose, the tummy
71. Tattoo or piercing: Not something too obvious or visible of either
72. Careless or careful: Somewhere in the middle, leaning towards careful
73. Relationship or just friends: Relationship if possible (but I’d rather have them as friends than not at all)
74. Troublemaker or holding back: Again, somewhere in the middle, leaning slightly towards holding back

HAVE YOU EVER:
75. Kissed a stranger: Yes
76. Drunken strong alcohol: Yep
77. Lost your glasses/lenses: Yes, but a long time ago (they were recovered, though)
78. Sex on the first date: Preferrably no, but if the mood between us is juuust right, I’d be up for it
79. Broken someone’s heart: Not that I know of
80. Had your heart broken: Not really
81. Been arrested: No
82. Declined an invitation to a date: No. Then again, I would have had to received an invitation to be able to decline it…
83. Cried when someone died: Oh yes (who doesn’t?)
84. Liked a friend who’s a girl: Yes

DO YOU BELIEVE IN:
85. Yourself: Yes
86. Miracles: Not really
87. Angels: Nah
88. Heaven: In the biblical sense, no… in the afterlife, … umm… not really
89. Santa Claus: Nope
90. Kissing on the first date: Yes (if the conditions are right)
91. Love at first sight: Oh yes

ANSWER HONESTLY:
92. Is there someone you’d like to be in a relationship with right now: Not someone in particular, no
93. Have you ever had more than one girlfriend at any given time: No, but I’ve never had one girlfriend at any given time, either (kindergarten doesn’t count)
94. Do you think it’s possible to be faithful forever: Possible, yes. But not everyone is cut out for it…
95. Do you dare answer all of these questions: Already have.

Spam Primer/This is True

04.11.2011 14:01

I’m a regular subscriber of a newsletter called This is True, which contains several bizarre news stories that happen to be true (even though some of the stories almost seem too stupid or too bizarre to be true). This newsletter comes out once a week, and it’s so good, I’ve even paid for an upgrade to the Premium edition, which has more stories.

I recently became aware of another website that the head author above newsletter (Randy Cassingham) maintains, which I found to be very useful to a lot of people.

If you want to know how to reduce the impact of spam (including unsolicited e-mail and chain letters), I can highly recommend the Spam Primer. It tells you (amongst other things) how to distinguish mail from friends and mail from spammers (even if they appear to come from your friends), what to do and not to do, and how to avoid becoming a part of the spamming problem.

The whole website takes a little less time than reading a paper-based daily newspaper (15-20 minutes, depending on your reading speed), from start to end.

So before you as much as touch another e-mail message, please read and understand the Spam Primer, and be part of the solution rather than the problem!

Upgrade complete (well, sort of)

02.11.2011 02:42

When I got home from work on Friday, I basically did all I needed to get done before taking a long break. After all, once I shut it down, I wouldn’t be able to use it properly for at least 12 hours. And honestly, installing a computer from scratch takes time, especially when you’re supposed to transfer old data and settings to the fresh install.

Let me just guide you through my experience, shall we?

Components to install:

Installation media (all from the Microsoft Partner Network):

  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional, 32-bit, DVD
  • Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010, DVD
  • Microsoft Visio Professional 2010, DVD
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, DVD (only used to install the client software)
  • Microsoft Project Professional 2010

In addition, I had downloaded an installation file for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional. The day before, I had received full license keys from my boss, who had to fetch them from the Microsoft Partner Network website (using his login). You know, so it’s all official, and not pirated.

Tools used:

  • Philips head screwdriver, long (for the smallest screws)
  • Philips head screwdriver, wider (for the slightly larger screws)
  • Flat head screwdriver (to pry open the lid after unscrewing)
  • Kama Connect IDE/SATA-to-USB adapter (to transfer data out from the old harddrive)
  • Small soft towel (to minimize pressure on the laptop screen while pushing down to screw/unscrew)

And, of course, plenty of lights and patience. Speaking of which, additional supplies:

  • Lethal Weapon 1-4 on DVD (to pass time while everything is being installed)

From the time I started clearing my workspace (read: desk) so I could replace the hardware properly, and until Windows 7 and Office 2010 was installed, including all updates from Windows Update, about 6 hours had passed. And since I started about half an hour past midnight, I was going strong-ish until about 7am Saturday morning. On any given Saturday morning, I’m usually asleep at this time, but I stayed up all night on this one. Most of Saturday was spent transferring documents, pictures, music and web files (local copies of websites I’m working on), but these could be left pretty much unattended, so I was able to have a little social time with my family.

I did snap a few photos during the Friday night upgrade (hardware and base software install) using my phone camera, and they’re all up on my Flickr account, in their own photo set.

IMAG0152 IMAG0173 IMAG0177 IMAG0178

Even closer to the upgrade…

28.10.2011 01:55

So I was able to pick up my package today, although it was a little smaller than I imagined. Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever replaced a harddrive in a laptop before, so the fact that this was considerably smaller than what I’m used to when thinking about “harddrives” probably had something to do with it.

Also, by the time I got to the office, I had received an e-mail from my boss with the license keys I had requested. The upgrade is on for this weekend!

When I left the office today, I made sure to make a print-out of the license keys and take the installation DVDs/CDs with me home, just in case I had the time and the urge to perform the upgrade already today. Needless to say, I never got the time to do something about it today.

I did, however, do a test disassembly of my laptop after I got home, just to get a complete overview of where the components were located, and what screws to unscrew when the time finally comes (and, of course, to be even more sure that I had the right components and equipment to get through the upgrade).

Then again, I was able to perform a backup of all the games and software I can’t get anywhere else before I went to bed, just to be even more prepared.

I’m looking even more forward to get started on Saturday.

Almost upgrade time!

27.10.2011 00:46

Last week, I decided to go through with upgrading my laptop. The laptop is a 3 years old Dell Studio 1535, with 250 GB hard drive space and 3 GB RAM. After some research, I found that it currently has two RAM modules installed (one 2 GB and one 1 GB), and supports a maximum of 4 GB, meaning, I’ll be replacing the 1 GB module with a 2 GB one, maxing out what the laptop can handle. I also went with a new 500 GB hard drive, doubling the total capacity it can handle. Last, but not least, I threw in a 8 GB USB memory stick for good measure. It will come in handy when transferring somewhat large amount of data.

I finally got a message from the postal service that it was almost here:

Meaning, the package is ready to be picked up tomorrow. And since I just found out that the downtown post office had spent the last few days moving to another location, which would become just a few minutes away from where I work, it won’t even be a detour during my lunch break.

I might even get brand new software for my upgrade from my workplace, too. Today, the laptop has Windows Vista Ultimate and Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate, amongst other things, and through my office, I have access to Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010. I just have to ask my boss for the license keys, and it looks like I’ll go for the Windows 7 Professional and Office Professional Plus 2010 editions, since our company’s subscription package includes more than one license for these two. Our company only has one single license for the Ultimate edition of Windows 7, and I don’t want to be the one hogging this particular one. Besides, the differences between “Professional” and “Ultimate” aren’t that much of a deal anyway.

If I get the license keys secured before the weekend, I’ll be spending the weekend upgrading and reinstalling software, and start next week with a renewed laptop.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress. Or, at least somewhat, since my laptop won’t exactly be online while I’m doing this.