Getting Things Done

Well the last week or so has been quite productive for me.

At work we have been working closely with our EMR vendor to resolve a few issues with interfaces and minor bugs that exist in their program. We also finished rolling out the new machines we received a few weeks ago, and also built two new disk images that we will use to roll out Microsoft Office 2007 to the employees in our building that don’t have it yet. I’ve also setup the new / updated webserver to host our current site and make our auditors happy again.

The Livestrong’s Daily Plate program is going very well. I’ve been logging my exercise and activity everyday and doing a weekly weigh in and I’ve lost just a little over 7 pounds in two weeks. This past week I have picked up my biking habits again so every other day I am out doing 15 to 25 miles which I’m sure is helping. Right now I am limited to about 1800 calories a day, which when making the right decisions at lunch and dinner makes it pretty easy, most days I am closer to 1600 calories. I can even feel that my pants fit better just after two weeks. I also noticed that I am getting used to the lower calories because I can’t eat nearly as much as I used to, but I’m sure that’s a good thing.

After taking a month or two off from biking now I remember why I love it so much. Last night we got some clouds and rain that helped cool down the temperature and made for a bit of a breeze from the north. I worked my from College Station to downtown Bryan and used the breeze and the cool weather to get me up to 25 miles last night which is close to my longest ride of like 32 miles. But just the speed of with the extra wind at my back which just makes it so much easier to maintain my 17-19 mph on the flat and 13-14 mph uphill. Usually my pace is right around 14.3 mph around town, but that probably included a bunch of stops and me just kind getting it done and not really pushing. If I push, I could probably do 16 mph for 10 miles but beyond that my legs start giving up. I hope to work my way closer to 50 miles in a single ride and then I would have to probably upgrade to a true road bike. Right now I have a 2008 Trek 7.2 FX. It does a great job of giving me a good road feel but keeping me upright, the components are of good quality and shift are quick and smooth, my only wish is that it was a bit lighter, but that always costs more.

My Linux+ is coming along nicely, I have completed the CBT Nugget videos I had as well as the entire TestOut training, now I just need to take a few practice tests and see where I am. I think the only thing that will trouble me is remember all the different options to these commands, there seems to be just a ton of them and not all are standardized. Also a few of the detailed configuration files for Samba and sendmail I just can’t seem to wrap my head around, but hopefully they ask enough generic stuff that it won’t be a problem. I will take a practice test sometime this week and probably schedule the test for one afternoon in the next two weeks.

Upcoming for the blog at I will continue to try to figure out what the Galleries things so I can share all the good high quality pictures with all of you out on the internet, and hopefully produce a few more articles about the great IT stuff I do day to day. I still have quite of bit of work to do with adding a profile and what I would call is a portfolio of projects and work that I have done in my IT career. I also hope to write WordPress Plugin that will help integrate SportTracks and the Livestrong’s The Daily Plate into the blog on my site.

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The Past Few Weeks

The past few weeks have been quite busy for me. I spent about a week in Washington DC seeing the sights and enjoying the freedoms that our country provides. While there I found out that I had a ticket to the Indy 500 once I got back. So I took another day off work to road trip it up to Indy, which really wasn’t that bad since we had several drivers. The race was awesome it is just amazing how fast those cars can actually go, we were in turn 4 and watched several cars pound the wall just in front of our seats. Unfortunately, I got back to town to find that my dads lung cancer had made him take a turn for the worst, i didn’t get to share my experience at Indy with him but knowing what a race fan he was i know it wouldn’t have wanted me it on his account. I did get to say my goodbyes and spend a bit more time with him, he passed away early that Wednesday morning. I appreciate everyone’s well wishes the family is doing fine.

I have spend the last week or so working on my studying for my Linux+ certification which I hope to take at the beginning of next month. I hope this will diversify my IT knowledge and allow me not to be lost or have to Google every command when trying to do things on a Linux system. I have already watched the CBT Nuggets videos and now have moved into TestOut in depth study material which I should be able to finish by the end of the week.

Also, I joined’s The Daily Plate program which is a food and exercise journal that will help keep track of what you do and how much you eat so you can hopefully lose weight. My sister has been doing it for a bit and Jen and I decided that we should give it a shot, if nothing else it gives you some statistics of how good you eat compared to what activities you do. So far I have noticed that the food database is quite extensive because I was able to add my Freebirds burrito by size and each component. The activity database is just as extensive which includes sleeping, mowing the lawn, washing the car, working one computer, watching tv and any other activity you can think of. It also uses your height and weight to estimate how much you should eat and includes activities in to it, it is pretty neat you should at least sign up and check it out.

As for the site, I have been trying post pictures from all these great places i have been recently. I have only had moderate success as you can tell from the front page. I will also be putting up a few articles about virutalization and more of the general IT stuff that I have been working on. If you have any ideas for posts i should do just put it in a comment and I will see if I can make it happen.

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The Hidden Cost of Dropbox

dropboxTo start off, I love Dropbox, it is a great service that allows you to sync 2GB to the cloud for free. It also allows you to share files with your friends and post files to a webserver so you can send it in an IM or email and they can see your file. It works great for small files and large a like, I have found it to be fast and reliable. Unfortunately it isn’t really free. I’m not talking about the premium you can pay to get more space, I’m talking about the cache files that it saves. I understand that all this data is saved across many other workstations on the internet which forms the cloud. This is great and I’m sure it saves them tons of money not having to pay for bandwidth and cloud storage at like S3, however… 12 GB of cache files on my computer is a bit unacceptable.

I noticed this when I was looking at my C drive wondering man why so low and I have not installed anything new or downloaded anything of significant size, and that’s when I found it 12GB of files in my C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Dropbox\cache folder. This is the equivalent of sharing 12GB file so you can have like 2GB this just doesn’t make since. I have been using Dropbox for several months and just now noticed the cache but I would hope it would clean it up every once and a while. I understand they need multiple copies in the cloud for speed and reliability but this is a bit extreme. Also this large amount of data as it becomes.. is in the wrong directory, at least from a business perspective because trying to sync 12GB of Dropbox files takes a while when this data really doesn’t need to be part of a roaming profile. I understand that this isn’t it’s primary use, but it probably should be part of Local Settings\Application Data instead so it doesn’t follow you around in a roaming profiles environment.

I would like to make this point clear though, none of this would stop me from using Dropbox, it is a great free file sharing application, I will just watch those cache files and delete them once and a while.

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On The Way to Indy

Only four days have passed, yet I am getting ready for another adventure out in our great country. The Indianapolis 500 is one of the crown jewels in auto racing and my coworker just happen to have an extra ticket. Honestly, what is any guy gonna do? We are driving and leaving tonight for Dallas to stay with some of his relatives and relax before the huge drive on Friday up to Indy. Saturday we hang around and do some backyard beers and brats and resting from this crazy trip. Sunday is live at track race… I should be in turn 4 in somewhere in the grand stands, I will try to give a more exactly location once I’m there via Twitter. Then we watch the race again on TV that night because they delay the airing of it so that people can come home from the race and catch what they missed on TV. Kinda strange but I enjoy racing. Monday, which is Memorial Day we will be driving home like bandits to travel the 1100 miles back to College Station. I will be sure to take a bunch of pictures so I can share it with the rest of ya. I know I said I would post more about my DC trip but I just have not had the time because of the Indy trip so close together. Those should come next week once I am back and don’t have any trips planned, however then it gets close to moving time so beware more delays may be ahead.

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Living without Cable

It is coming up on a year that I have not had to pay for cable television. I still have cable in my house as it it is the fastest cheapest internet source for where I live but I don’t pay for any sort of standard TV programming with that.

Before I went without cable I was spending about $140 a month for having an HD DVR, HD Channels and extended basic, with HBO and standard 3 megabit internet. I am currently paying $55 a month for just 8 megabits high speed internet. There is some real savings there of over $1000 dollars, but the real question is did I miss a show. No, is the answer to that, I have a DVR though Hulu which never misses a show unlike my DVR did, and if i’m hanging around that night and want to watch it live I am able to pick up ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC with Over-the-Air HD so i’m really not missing out on much HD primetime TV when I’m home, and Hulu and the other websites that give you TV over the internet do a full screen and look great on my TV using my HP Z555 Media Center PC connected via HDMI.

For the shows that I cannot find on Hulu or their respective networks website, I turn to torrents because if I have this problem so does everyone else. They are not hard to find especially if you are looking for the latest episode of Heroes for example, you can even get some in HD if you really want to spend the extra time downloading. I tend to stick with the standard divx file. Also with my skills of installing XBMC on Xbox it allowed me to see any of the media I have downloaded in the bedroom using my home network. Even better is that is Media Mall’s PlayOn Media Server which will access internet content including Hulu and stream it to “dumber” devices across your home network. This is how we have been able to see Hulu in the bedroom with out the use XBMC Hulu Plugin, which is still not ready for prime time.

For the most part I don’t miss a show, I do miss ESPN, Versus and Fox Sports because they tend to carry the live sports that I would like to see, and although ESPN has ESPN 360 it doesn’t carry the things I wanna see like Nascar races or some college football games. So if you are a sports lover then you still might need cable or satellite for that need, I find that it is just excuse to go find some friends and watch the game with them or find a bar and makes new friends watching the game.

I will continue not paying for cable and enjoying saving that bit of cash. The only real problem I can see with this is with bandwidth caps, that might force me to rethink this whole thing if the limit the amount of content that I can download from sources, but for now the pipe is wide open and I will use it to my advantage.

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