Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A new house!

So we drove around and called a bunch of numbers we saw on "for rent" signs. We got a few calls back and there were a few promising places... We went to go see one of them yesterday evening and I fell even more in love with it. When I first saw it was as we were driving past, I thought it was the cutest little house ever. It's this tiny white house on the corner, $600 a month, and surprise surprise... no pets allowed. So anyway, we had this strategy: we wouldn't tell someone we had a dog until after we looked at the place, and then we'd offer to double the deposit if they would let us have the dog. So we went and looked at it yesterday and it was so cute and perfect... very small, but also very pretty. When it came time, we told her about the dog, and she hesitated, but then said she'd be willing to give it a try. So suddenly we're talking about moving in in 2 weeks and we still have another apartment to pay rent on, but we thought about it, and we're doing it. I am so excited to have our puppy living with us and I can't believe that we are moving into a house! It's all happening so fast...

So anyway, here are some pictures of the house. Tell me what you think!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I'm addicted...

to creamies. mmm... so good. My favorite is strawberry, but banana is a close second.

Monday, May 22, 2006

You ain’t nothin but a Bulldog.

Everybody, meet my new dog Duke(ownership pending).

On mothers day we had a family get-together at my moms house. After a while, Carebear, Meryl, and the Sibs were gone. I thought they had gone for a walk, so I was periodically going outside trying to find them. Well, on one of my trips outside I found Duke. He was running around like he was lost, and when he saw me, he ran over and sat down at my feet. Thinking that he must have gotten off his leash, I looked around hoping to find his owner but I couldn't see anybody looking for him.

At first sight it was obvious that he was a not your average stray dog. He was clean, well groomed, had a cropped tail, and had "purebred" written all over him. It was also obvious that he was very well trained, he played fetch, he knew how to sit and stay, he didn't jump on people, he didn't chase the cats, and most impressive of all, he didn't bark at or chase the other dogs in the neighborhood who were all barking at him(I suppose they were jealous and rightfully so). I could go on and on about how good he is. He's an amazing dog. I mean, the title "man's best friend" was invented to describe dogs like Duke.

Because of that, I figured his owners would without a doubt be looking for him, so I put him on a leash and walked him around the block hoping to find his owner and asking if anybody knew whose dog he was. Well, nobody had ever seen him before, and of course he didn't have a collar or tags. Since we couldn't call Animal Control to come pick him up because they apparently only work M-F 9:00-5:00(which I thought was weird), we decided we would keep him there in the front yard. We were hoping that his owners might find him there they didn't, and he was still there on Monday morning.

The original plan was to take him to the pound, or have Animal Control take him there, but my mom decided it would be better to keep him while we tried to find the owner. At least at my mom's house he could run around in the yard, and go for walks; and In the meantime, she would continue to look for the owner. She called and reported him to Animal Control(which it turns out is just the local Police Dept.... weird again). They told her that nobody had reported him missing, but they would let her know if anybody did, and that if she decided that she couldn't or didn't want to keep him then they would come get him. She's been taking him for walks, and asking around, but hasn't gotten any good leads. There was one guy who said he had seen Duke around, but he didn't know the owner, so no luck there.

Tomorrow we're taking him to a vet's office to see if he has a microchip. I kind of hope he does, because I'm sure his family is just dying to find him. At the same time, I hope he doesn't because I want to keep him. Can you blame me? If we cant find his owner then Carebear and I are hopefully going to move into an apartment that allows pets so that we can keep him *crosses fingers*

Thursday, May 11, 2006

No internet for you!

Here's the long version of the internet problems that carebear mentioned:

The management of our apartment complex provides internet access to all of the tenants, a pretty standard practice. Each tenant pays $10 a month for internet access, whether they use it or not. The network itself consists of 2 wireless routers set-up in the management office, which, lucky for us, is only few yards away(I can only imagine what kind of signal the top floor apartments get, we get between "low" and "very low" signal).

When we moved in we were on a 6Mbps Comcast connection, which was, for the most part, reliable. It would get better, then worse, and better again. It would go down occasionally for a couple of hours; not too shabby. Then they dropped Comcast and signed up with iProvo (a fiber network owned by Provo city) which provides a 100Mbps connection. I was excited when I heard they were getting iProvo because it meant an even faster internet connection. That couldn't have been farther from the truth. Since the switch, we have not had a reliable connection for longer than 12 hours at a time. Sometimes its super fast, sometimes its dialup speed, and sometimes it just doesn't work. In fact, sometimes it will load every other page, or it will consistently load certain pages, and others will be inaccessible for hours at a time, or aim will work but webpages won't load, etc, etc

I have taken the opportunity, whenever the internet goes down, to try to diagnose the problem, and nine times out of ten I've been able to pinpoint it. When we were using Comcast, the problem was almost ALWAYS a down connection between Comcast and the apartment Complex. This is easy enough to fix; call the management, who calls comcast, problem solved. However, with iProvo it has been a different story. For starters, the DNS servers provided by iProvo are crap. They're useless (I actually spent a couple of afternoons surfing by IP address). After discovering that about half of the outages were related to the crappy iProvo DNS servers, I found a couple of free, public DNS servers and started using those instead of the iProvo servers. That resolved a lot of the problems we were having. The other common problem with the connection is that the company that provides the backbone connection for iProvo(I forget the company's name so ill call them SLCbackbone) has a shoddy network. I can't count the amount of times that I've seen upwards of 80% packet loss on the same group of servers on SLCbackbone's network.

So that is the history building up to what happened a couple of days ago. On Thursday, or Friday of last week the apartment management went on vacation and at about the same time the internet connection went down. As we usually do when the internet goes down, we tried calling the management, but this time we got an answering machine that said "we're on vacation and unless your house is burning down don't bother us. We'll be back on Tuesday."(ok, so that's not an exact quote) I left a message just letting them know that the internet was down.

Well, the internet was down for 4-5 days straight. Since I rely on the internet for almost everything, it was extremely frustrating. I also just started a CS class where all of the course material is online, meaning that I had no way of knowing what the assignments were, when the lab hours were, etc. Even more frustrating than that, was the fact that the connection was doing some very weird things during those 4-5 days. We had connectivity to everything, and nothing at the same time. Pinging google's servers came back flawlessly every time, traceroutes gave the same results. Every test I could think of was showing that there was nothing wrong with the connection, but at the same time it was as if we had no connection at all. We couldn't load webpages, connect to WoW, connect to AIM or MSN, send/receive email, etc. Nothing worked. Weird.

Anyway, we had called and left a message and I can only imagine how many other people in the complex called and left messages, and I wouldn't be surprised if some people left more than one. So, on Tuesday morning the management came out to fix the network. Apparently they didn't think that fixing the network was enough so they wrote a nasty note(go read it, with original typos intact) and taped a copy to everybody's door.

Are you done reading it?..... Ok.

I think when I first read it I was just so glad the internet was up that I didn't care, but now that I've read it a couple of times over its really starting to bother me. There are just so many problems with what they're saying its ridiculous.

First they complain about the "HOURS" they've spent trying to keep the network up. "only to find out today that it was all caused by tenants misuse of the internet."...

1. Networks don't maintain themselves. Sad but true.

2. There are 32 apartments each paying $10/month for an internet connection that costs the m anagement ~$50/month? Ok, figure in the cost of the routers(which have long since been payed for), and the electric bill to run them. Lets say their total cost is $100 to run and maintain the network, and they spend 5 hours in an average month working on it. They're still making $320 for 5 hours of work, or $44/hour! Even if they spent 10 hours a month its still a pretty descent $22/hour.

3. If you are the only person who can fix it, you are going to hear about it when it goes down. Thats the nature of providing a service to people. Personally I'd love it if they would let me administer the network, but what are the chances of that?

4. "hundreds of hours" hah! Over what period of time? Honestly.

5. "it was all caused by tenants misuse of the internet" No, No, and NO. The fact is that most of the problems are iProvo's problems. I've seen it first hand.

"Internet is provided at Harmony Square for tenants NEEDS ONLY-NOT for play, pleasure, or business"


"such as: gaming(playing playstation, xbox or such type games over the internet)"

Playing WoW, and many other games, averages ~5Kbbs. Thats less than casual internet surfing. Other games that use VOIP can take more, but you're still not killing a 100Mbps fiber connection any time soon.

"sharing (limewire or other downloading or uploading shareware), pier to pier, any business servers, or anything else I might have missed mentioning that maxs out the service and freezes it up for EVERYONE."

pier to pier... Because yachts use lots of bandwidth ya know?

business servers... Because you can run a web server without a static IP, through your apartment complex's wireless router ya know?

Another flaw in this logic is that the wireless connection maxes out at 54Mbps. Its not possible that one person could singlehandedly bring the network to its knees; even if the router decided to give that one person's traffic priority over everybody else's which is also not likely to happen.

Then they go on to say "In the future, if ANYONE is found using more than their share of the internet access, they will be temporarily removed from access to the internet. They will be fined $100.00"

This is not only inflammatory, but also ridiculous. How do they intend to enforce this? Anyone found using more than 312 kb at any given time will be penalized? They better throttle my connection speed then, because if I download a file I can guarantee that its going to be coming across faster than that.

"if ever a second time for one apartment —they will permanently be taken off the access list at their own expense with no deduction in rent and no longer possibility of internet for them." (engrish?)

So they are fined, then revoked access, but continue to pay for it like everybody else?? Sounds fair to me, after all, they must have downloaded a file or something awfull like that right?

Well, this is the end of my rant. I plan on letting them know what I think(in nicer words of course). I hope I dont get us kicked out :P

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I'm still alive

Just thought I'd let everyone know... I didn't die, but our internet was down for many days, and I haven't really had anywhere else to go to check email and stuff like that, so... But now it's good! Management got all cranky b/c they said that one person was using the entire bandwidth and making it so the rest of us couldn't use it. (the bandwidth is 10... something... Frik, fill that in for me.) So, either way, now it's working and life is peachy.

I did almost die, though. Ok, not quite, but there was one of those big orange construction cones (the barrel shaped ones) sitting in the middle of our lane on the freeway last night. It was dark and so we didn't see it until it was right in front of us, and Frik swerved and scared me, but there was no one behind and to the right of us, so it was fine.

In other news, work is going well... I actually enjoy it and the meter stuff is pretty interesting. We're going on the phones next week for our phone training, which will take a few more weeks. We will be sharing a line with 2 other people, one of which is a trainer, and we will take 4 or 5 calls a day and do a lot of reading and studying. So we'll see how that goes. (That is, of course, if I pass the test... which is supposed to take about 6 1/2 hours. It's long)

that's all i've got for now... oh, except that I can't move because I'm so sore. Yeah, that's it now. :)

Thursday, May 4, 2006

You just shook your head… doesn’t that make you happy?

So, you may have heard that carebear and I are taking a weight lifting class. The last couple days we have been doing the fitness and strength tests that we will be compared against at the end of the course, and The way they've decided it should be done is that each person should be able to lift a certain percentage of their body weight on each of the diferent lifts. This is a fine concept when dealing with people who are in shape. Naturally you would expect a 250lb body builder to lift a lot more than a 150lb body builder. However, when you apply that same concept to normal(out of shape) people it doesn't work as well, for obvious reasons, and you end up so sore that you can Hardly move. I'm sure some of you are familiar with the feeling.

So, besides feeling like I should have been issued a wheelchair and handicap parking privileges, I'm absolutely loving being in classes again. I'm really excited about the weight lifting class. The other class I'm taking is CS 142 which so far has not only been a walk in the park but has also been really interesting. I have yet to take a college course that I didn't like, which I suspect will change in the near future when I have to take some useless English or biology class.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Interesting thought...

k, so I was talking to some coworkers yesterday and I came up with (what I think) is a pretty interesting question. (no one be offended by me lumping ethnicities together, ok?)

Ok, so this is it: It seems like most ethnicity groups have some sort of talent that can be generalized across the whole group. Example: asians are good at math/hard workers/ etc, black people have a lot of rhythm/ are good singers, and South American people are... well, that one's not so prominent in my brain, but maybe they're good runners? Like the soccer players and track guys... So, my question was, if all these different ethnicities of people are all talented in some way, then what are the white people good at?? The only thing we could come up with yesterday is that we are good at fighting and conquering. Maybe you guys can think of some positive points... who knows. Just an interesting thought, like I said. I'm definitely not saying that any once race is better than another or that every person from one particular race has all the same features/talents/strengths/weaknesses/etc...

On another note, work training is going pretty well... I get kindof frustrated because a lot of the people in the class don't seem to get it a lot of the time. I try to tell myself that I'm not smarter or better than them, and also try to see all the good things about these people (because a lot of them definitely don't have the gift of extremely high intelligence)... It's just weird to me, being around so many people who are: a. Older than me AND b. less educated and have a harder time getting stuff... It's strange. I mean, a lot of these people can't remember different things on the computer... I guess that's pretty normal. I guess that a lot of my friends will ask me to set the time on their watches when they first get them b/c they can't figure it out (or don't want to bother since they know that I'll be able to)... but things like that just are pretty basic to me, so... But them on the other hand, a lot of my friends who would have me do that kind of stuff had abilities and talents in other areas that made me look like a total idiot. I guess I've just got to try to remember that when in comes to all these people at work. The hard thing is that I only see the work aspect of their personalities...

Anyway, though... I'm doing pretty good with the training. It's pretty easy, so far. we have a ton of different glucose meters to learn how to work and do everything with, and we've got a couple other things... the lancet devices (I prefer to call them pokers) and stuff like that. I kindof feel bad b/c we are allowed to give upgrades or replacements or samples of any of our products... really, anything... just for free. Send it to them overnight... and what I feel bad about is that it seems like we're just hooking them so we can make money on the strips. I don't know how much it costs to make the strips, but I don't think it's fair that diabetic people have to pay so much for them. I also don't know how much of that (if any) is covered by insurance, but I still feel bad, none the less... And I know that every brand of strips is just as expensive as the ones we sell, but I still don't think it's fair.

*sigh* Moving on... Frik and I started our weight training class today, and we are both very out of shape. We did a fitness test... see how many pushups and situps we could do in a row... and... well, Frik and I are fatsos. hehe... ok, not really, but I do feel very weak and out of shape, so I'm glad that We are in this class and we will get all buff.

Well, that's about all going on in my life right now. Don't forget my question from the beginning of the post. That's what I want y'all to comment on. (I said y'all!!!)

Monday, May 1, 2006

Fun things

So Jabba did stay over here for the weekend, and it was fun. we went up rock canyon and climbed all over. We picked up a few rocks as souvenirs and sat in a cave for a while. Then we saw a dog, and she was really cute, so we stopped to pet her, and right after he pet her, Jabba licked his hand off... It was so strange, but I guess that it's one way to get to know a dog! :o)

And then yesterday, we went to church and then played Tony Hawk. Some of our neighbors were moving out, and they have a lovesac. All of their stuff was sitting in the courtyard area, and so Jabba was playing on that... running and jumping. It was really fun.

The best part of the weekend, though, would have to be today when we were driving him to school and he got carsick and threw up... ok, so that wasn't really the highlight, but the good thing was that we hadn't cleaned out the car from our trip yet, so we had bags and boxes and stuff and all the throw up landed on him and a sweatshirt sitting next to him. I was glad that the car didn't get any on it!

And then today was my first day of work. I think it went well. We have 9 people in our training group, and they're all pretty nice. The trainer is cool, too, and we get out at 8:30 every day instead of 10:00, so Frik and I won't have to figure out how to schedule the car. We got to learn all about the evolution of the lancet device today and about diabetes. Tomorrow, we're going to learn about one of the accucheck meters... It's actually pretty cool.

Anyway, though... I've got a headache, and I want to read Frik's latest post before I go to bed. Everyone else should, too. :) He's cute! So... that's the end of this post.


So I was reading over at digg.com and I found an article from Wired News. Its about Pete Ashdown, who's running for senate against Orrin Hatch in Utah. Normally I avoid politics and political discussions like the plague(or worse). I figure one politician is as retarded as the next, and since I couldnt possibly care less about all the normal political subjects like foreign policy, government spending, hippies, etc, I've never identified with any of thier views, but this article seemed interesting enough so I read it.

Pete Ashdown, an executive of Xmission(a local ISP) is running against Orrin Hatch, who I'm sure is a great guy, but has been known to be snugly tucked away in the back pocket of the RIAA and MPAA. He once suggested that "copyright owners should be able to destroy the computer equipment and information of those suspected of copyright infringement, including file sharing." Then a year later he "proposed the controversial INDUCE Act that attempted to make illegal all tools that could be used for copyright infringement." On the other hand, Pete Ashdown is very tech savy and seems to understand technology, the internet, etc. He supports fair use and is anti-DRM. In short, he seems to have his head screwed on right. As mentioned in the article "Ashdown... hopes to fight anti-tech policies and help Congress understand the internet from the point of view of someone who has been there."

It reminds me of the one and only time I went to a Town Hall meeting. The issue on the docket that day was wether or not the city should purchase the Switchpoint Broadband Network. My mom was going to voice her support for the city making the purchase and I decided to go since I figured it meant the diffrence between crappy DSL or Cable compared to the 100Mb/sec upload and download that I had become accustombed to. As it turned out, the members of the city council didnt know the diffrence between a keyboard and box of tacks, so it was a good thing that a lot of techies showed up. There were some people who came to oppose the idea, but none of them really had anything inteligent to say. I do remember an old guy(the cow guy) who stood up and said that we should invest in agriculture and cows and that it wasnt the city's place to become an ISP or some such nonsense, needless to say he was shut down pretty quickly and the city did end up buying the network. Everybody lived happily ever after with bleeding fast internet access.

Going back to the topic at hand. I see Orrin Hatch as the cow guy. He just doesnt understand technology. With technology moving at the rate that it is, the lawmakers have a lot to catch up on, and you cant have people making decisions that dont understand the issues. We might as well just put the lobbyists in office.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I think we need more geeks in politics. I agree with what Ashdown is saying, and Im definately voting for him.

I'm also going to vote for Lewis Billings, who's been the mayor responsible for building Provo's fiber-optic network, iProvo. Dave Bailey, on the other hand, would love to shut iProvo down.

Anyway, talking about politics makes me sick, I'll never do it again.