February 2003 Archives

Why?

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Before you eat that apple, sniff it well. Smelling can be better than eating. Smell the table. Smell the floor. Smell the computer screen. Why should dogs have all the fun?

Nonsense? Yes!

I've got nothing interesting to tell or write, but since this is a blog, that's a prerequisite I suppose. So...

The weather has been real good this morning, and we should have sat outside on the terrace, as it's gotten quite cloudy and a tad bit colder now. Tomorrow I'll be off to batibouw with Joco & Eef, that whould be more interesting as being bored in the office.

Tisha has not escaped from her cage anymore since I altered it a bit, so that problem should be taken care of.

Funny spam

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I really don't know who comes up with this, but after the well known "Enlarge your penis", "Add inches instantly", "Online Viagra" and "Online pharmacy sells everything" subjects, we've come to a complete new type of spam...

"RE: i need to talk to you about my septic tank"

How about that? Now I've got complete strangers that want to talk to me about their septic tank. Let me tell you something, mister spam : You're full of shit, and the only talking I'm gonna do concerning any septic tank will be "Oops. I didn't see that! Too bad you just fell down a septic tank. Does it hurt? Good!"

I wonder what's gonna be next?

The sun is shining...

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I just returned from the infosecurity fair, and I thought it was hardly interesting. Too bad, it could have been more.

I also picked up two new waterbottles for the ferrets, one as a replacement, and the other one as a spare in case one breaks. The bottles are good, but they can't withstand a dishwasher, or falling on the floor.

The sun is peeking through the clouds, and the temperature outside is very pleasant. I wished I could be sitting in the park with someone, but I don't think that'll be happening anytime soon.

These entries have got nothing to do with eachother, but I guess you noticed that by now. Joco also entered the 13000 hits celebration sticker giveaway, so here's a link to his blog : Alex Blogje. I just wonder what he's gonna do with all those stickers... I don't think the last batch is gone yet!

Accusations and Ferrets

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Today really is a shitty day... the bright sun that was right there yesterday has left us, and instead clouds have taken over. This also means that we can't just sit outside and relax a bit, unless we wear a coat... And that was of course not the idea.

This morning we got a mail accusing "us" of all kinds of things, and that has in no way improved the already bad atmosphere. The funny thing is though, that all claims made in that mail, are simply not true. Hell, I'm not even gonna waste my time replying to it.

Yesterday we send out mails asking very specific things, but as we figured in advance, they are completely ignored. Ignoring problems doesn't make them go away, but increases them. Somebody is about to find out. And the guy from the union seems to have gone AWOL, as he is not reacting to my mail, and he promised a reaction on monday. If needed, I'll confront him with it once more tomorrow.

Something completely different : As I was ready to leave home this morning I suddenly saw Tisha (the small female ferret) hanging at the side of the cage. I picked her up, and put her back. At least now I know how she manages to escape : she climbs up to the top of the cage, squeezes herself through the bars, then walks to the side, and decends carefully. Funny thing is that she does it backwards. I tell you, that's one hell of a smart ferret.

ZoneAlarm and sticker giveaway

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After fucking up the firewall settings myself a few days ago, I had to replace the old wall with ZoneAlarm - praised by many, but for many reasons still despised by me.

After not running ZA for nearly 2 years, I decided to give it another shot, and I installed the latest version of ZoneAlarm... works fine at first, but then I started noticing all kinds of things giving me problems. DNS (name to IP translations) that go all funky (was fixed by opening some extra ports), sites being unreachable or very slow, and then suddenly my mouse just disappeared. Sure, I agree, that might not have anything to do with ZoneAlarm, but you got to admit that it's fishy, not?

I uninstalled ZA, and voila! Mouse is back, runs like a charm, all sites open at top speed, and DNS works as it is supposed to do. I think I'll throw ZA back into the cellar for another 2 years, and in the mean time work with something more reliable, at least for as far as I can tell.

As promised in a post a few days back, and as the first entry for the 13000 unique visits celebration has arrived, I'm posting a link to MindDump, operated and maintained by "dreamer", based in the UK. Dreamer, stickers will be coming your way next week! Lemme know when they arrive...

Yes, entering the 13000 unique celebration giveaway is still possible, but I wouldn't hesitate too long! Read all details about it in this original post.

Shock and Shocked

A few hours ago I learned some facts that I was unaware of until today. I'm not shocked by the facts/rumour themself, but I was not too pleased to find out about it, as they apparently were kept away from us by intention, and not because "someone" forgot to mention them.

If there is any thruth in those facts, the struggle is not over yet, and another bird told me that it got a call yesterday to ask about the reply I had given earlier that day. It seems like someone is shocked, or pretends to be and manages to fool us, or really has no clue at all what problems everyone is having.

Yes, I know I talk and write in riddles. On a lighter note : Create your own Nike shoes.

Cops are friendly

I've just returned from the police station to make a statement about the accident that happened yesterday. The police officer that helped me was very friendly and seemed determined to find the person who parked her car into mine.

They're gonna ask the witness to come down to the station as well, so that he can make a statement too, and then - if the licenseplate remains unclear - run the partial plate through the system and see what they can come up with.

Lady, you are gonna pay for this!

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Just when I was under the impression my day couldn't get any better... I leave the office at 17h00 and when I get to my car, I notice a small piece of paper under the windscreenwiper (is that even a word?).

Sure enough, it reads that someone driving a Citro�n Xara Picasso with licenseplate DGM?6 has scratched up my car while parking. Luckily, the person who slipped that note under my wiper saw it happening and was nice enough to take notes.

Apparently, he even talked to the lady who drove the car, and she told him that she would leave a note. She did, but when he checked it, it turned out to be a blank piece of paper... very sneaky indeed! That's when he left a note with all the details and his phonenumber.

I immediately called the witness to thank him for all the efforts he went through and that's when he told me he even made a statement about it at the nearest police station. Very cool person indeed. So I've taken some photographs of the damage done, and will head over to police and have a statement taken as well.

By looking at it myself, I think it's gonna cost that lady a whole lot! Last time I had to replace my mirror it amounted to about € 90, so having some panels and a bumper replaced will run into hundreds, if not thousands. Well.. what comes around, goes around I guess. I hope she chokes when she gets the bill.

Here are some shots of the damage done... click the thumbnails to enlarge.

BMW gets damaged, shot 1 (47kb) BMW gets damaged, shot 2 (43kb) BMW gets damaged, shot 3 (40kb)

And I just washed the car yesterday...

Yeah for myself!

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While we were having lunch at the office, my boss asked me to go over to his place later on and take a look at the internet and Lan connection on one of the computers of the kids. They've been having some problems with it lately.

I replied that I didn't feel like it at all, but if he asked it again, that I would go anyway. He told me that he wasn't gonna ask me twice and would rather hire somebody else to do it then.

"No problem" I said, "if that's what you want to do, it's fine by me". He obviously was not pleased at all with the reply I gave him, probably because he didn't expect it. After a few minutes of silence he asked me for the reason of my denial to go. Was it due to the fact that the kids keep on messing the thing up, or due to the situation?

"It's due to the situation. I don't mind your kids messing up the settings and network all the time, I just head out and fix it again. That's my job. But in circumstances like we are in now, I don't feel like giving support to anyone for anything that's not very strictly business related." There... now he has the answer he needed. Hey, I remained professional, while still voicing my opinion.

What the hell does he expect?

Final Fantasy / Ultimate Nightmare

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It's monday. However, since there is one monday every week, and there are 52 weeks in a year, that is not such a suprising statement. This could very well be the last monday of the company though... Friday the 28th we hope to receive a final descision about the future of our future.

Will the dream end? Or rather, will we wake up and be able to push the nightmare out of our minds? Is this the beginning of the end, or the end ot the end? It could as well be the beginning of the rebirth, but no one can answer that question yet.

The only thing that seems so weird that no precautions are being taken, or at least not in such a visible way. Are we being kept in the dark, or are we being paranoid?

I'm gonna run a small poll. What do you think will happen on the 28th? There are 3 possibilities :

1. It's all over - The End
2. We pull through - The Rebirth
3. Nothing is said or done - Living Dead

If you have an idea or just want to vote, please do so in a comment. Only pick 1 option :)

Nationale Loterij : Fuck you

When I wanted to load the site of the national lottery (www.lotto.be) tonight, it presented me with a warning that the minimum browser is IE4.0 or NS6.0. Apparently, they used so much special coding that they are unable to support Mozilla 1.2.1 - although it's a fully W3C standards compliant browser. I immediately send them a mail telling them I was less than pleased with it, but I don't even expect an answer.

I was under the impression that in this day and age of technological prospering, one would accommodate the broadest range of browsers possible. Don't come yelling that Mozilla is a niche browser, only used by geeks, nerds and freaks. More and more people are running it, and Netscape is Mozilla based.

It's really not hard at all to write W3C compliant code, if you spend some time testing and planning it in advance. Take a look at this site... full XHTML 1.0 compliant, works like a charm in IE, NS, Mozilla and Opera. If I had other browsers in which I could test it, I would. And I'm not a bug bucks corporation, but just a simple individual with some spare time and a drive to make it all accessible.

Stats for friedkitten.com

Webloggers are narcissists by nature, and we love stats, hits, counters and things like it. I'm no different, although I've realized over the past year(s) that there is more to life than hits, links and visits.

Today, unique visitor number 13.000 passed, and I think that is reason to celebrate! The first 5 people to send a mail to [email protected] will get free stickers by snail mail. Don't forget to include your Nickname, real name, postal address and country. If you include the URL of your own site (blog?) I'll post a link to it here as well.

friedkitten.com visitor stats : number 13.000 came by today!

Off

I'm off to the store to pick up some groceries, food and things like that. Even hard-working unpaid employees need to eat, don't they?

I don't have any plans for tonight just yet, but tomorrow I'll probably be off to a computer fair with my dad. I didn't even know there was one, but he mailed my sister and me, and asked if anyone was going, and in that case whether we could all go together. I had no plans for tomorrow yet, so I mailed him back to let him know I'm interested in it.

Next weekend Joco, Eef, possibly Jess & Johan and I will be off to Batibouw in Brussels Expo. For those that don't know it, it's a large fair which showcases everything related to housing, construction of housing, new developments, interior design and such. It'll be interesting, even though I won't be able to actually buy anything. Hey, that wasn't my intention in the first place, but I've got some things I'd like to change in the apartement this year, and one of those things is double glazing in the windows.

My heating cost is pretty low, but I think I can even get it lower with some extra efforts. A good reason is that this year special benefits and grants are available for people that invest in insulation and energy saving measurements. Definitely worth checking out I'd say.

Arrrghhh!!!

Not even reverting to an earlier system restore point in windows XP has resolved the matter. I'm seriously fucked it seems. Damn! I'm convinced there is a problem with the connection on this local machine, but I can't find what it is. I hope to be able to solve it this weekend, unless I want to go totally crazy :(

After completely disabling my firewall, large uploads are possible, and don't time out anymore. Very strange if you ask me. I did however remove one advanced rule when I was toying around with TightVNC and OpenSSH, but unfortunately, I don' remember what it said. I tried upgrading to the latest build of the firewall, but that didn't correct anything. At least now I know what the problem is, and just need to find a solution for it :)

Note : this also means the problems I'm experiencing right now are not related to installing the latest MS patch for IE6.0 SP1, installing OpenSSH or TightVNC. The apparent reason seems to be my own stupidity.

Fuck Damn Hell

I have got no clue what's going on, but I'm unable to post long entries to the blog for some reason. I tried with short ones like this one, and those are fine. Longer ones like the Technical I did a few hours ago won't post.

I already verified server status (all green) and uninstalled the two new programs I've added just some time ago, all to no avail. It's not IE or Mozilla related, as neither is able to post.

Update : Just put some new firmware on the modem, and as I suspected, that was not the culprit. Need to do more testing :(

Domain Anyone?

I just renewed 13 domain names. Some I might never develop, others are on hold for development. In case you see anything that you like, or want to develop, don't hesitate to get in touch!

neeckx.com- 404-club.com - 404club.com - bodybeats.com - braintechs.com - cheaper-now.com - cheapernow.com - giganticshop.com - hightechbar.com - porntrash.com - seniorlust.com - servcop.com - xdslshop.com

Warning : Techy Content

This is going to be a rather technical post. Unless you are up to it, and interested in boring technicalities, I suggest you skip right to the next post. However, I can't promise you'll find that one more interesting.

While at work today, I started thinking about changes that I'll have to implement sooner or later, and I decided to go ahead and run some tests already. I had read a very interesting article in C'T magazine about securing and tunneling protocols by using SSH. Since SSH is *nix based though, I first had to find a windows port that would do the same. Luckily, the CD carried a windows version, but the author of that piece of ported software has quit. Lexa McKenna has taken over and I grabbed the newest release in his download section.

The idea will be to tunnel certain protocols through SSH to secure them, and I'm especially thinking about TightVNC. I've installed TightVNC (grab version 1.28 here) on a few desktops already, and it does what I want it to do. It'll give me the option to support more users and do it faster too. I'd just like to have an option to make sure users don't mess around with the settings and passwords. Well, you can't have it all I suppose.

So... next week I plan to check out SHH tunneling and TighVNC finetuning, on thursday I'll be off to InfoSecurity, and that will be it probably. I'll also be working on some proxy server testing that I have to do - more for myself as it is directly needed for the job - as it will come in handy when expanding the current number of computers with at least 50%. One needs to be prepared.

I might be working on upgrading Movable Type for this weblog, as well as on Alex Blogje during the weekend, so there might be some downtime and things that don't work as they should. Never despair though... I'm on it :)

Shit and no solutions

I just arrived at the office, after talking to some people about the current situation at work. Apparently, it's not a black and white situation, but there is a very large amount of grey as well.

They cannot say what the ruling of a court might be if I take it that far, but they'll look into it. I hope to hear more on monday. Which leaves in the same shit as before.

Environmental solution?

Is the recently launched toll for motorists entering the vincity of London (UK) the solution it seems to be? Read the full article here

Magic numbers

Today's magic numbers are :

€ 551,38 (costs made and proved)
€ 4841,89 (pay)

These magic numbers are excluding any benefits like insurance, pensionplan and such because I can't value them myself.

How do I know all of this in detail? Because I've been preparing an interview about all of it scheduled for friday morning. I really hope they can shed a light on what's up next.

Front and behind

In about 45 minutes we'll (Steph and I) be off to Eshter to hand her over some paperwork she needs and see how she's doing. I'm really starting to miss her missing her, and it'll be good to see her again.

Yesterday I stopped over as Suzana's place - very nice interior and I'm still convinced the painting on the wall is grey, but she insists it's green - and picked up some paperwork, dropped off her glasses and enjoyed myself a lot.

On friday I'll be off to talk to some people about the next step we can take to resolve the shit "he" got us in. I didn't tell him yet, but I'll let him now in advance that I won't be in on friday morning. Ain't that weird? We get - as Steph has worded it so nicely - fucked in the front and from behind, and we remain professional and polite.

We are kickass dumbasses, lemme tell ya that, mofo! Of course, that is something he does not realize.

Dear mobile phone

Today you died on me. Well, actually you are still in good shape, but the subscription has passed away. I've seen it coming for the past 3 weeks, yet seeing it actually happen, is something else. Well, I think the operator has been very patient... It was about time they closed it all down!

So... friends that need to get in touch, you can still do so on my fixed line (when I'm home that is of course), or reach me by mail on one of the known addresses.

Update : He called the operator and tricked (or threathened?) them into reactivating 3 phones for inbound calls again. I wish they had more guts and told him to fuck off. The result is that Steph is gonna be bothered once more with angry phonecalls from practically everybody while he remains undisturbed.

MainPean Info - for everyone searching!

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Because I noticed a sudden spike in searches leading to my page about the MainPean dialer and malware, I'll point to the info I have posted before. I'll also add one (or maybe two) very valuable tips :

1. Don't accept or save files that are suddenly appearing in a pop-up or "Save" window if you didn't ask for them specifically.
2. Throw out Internet Explorer 5, 5.5 or 6 and get a browser that has a better rendering engine and more customizable (read safer) settings. Go grab Mozilla 1.2.1 and use that one instead.

Oh my... I know I'm gonna get flamed for saying that, but hey... it's true. Tabbed browsing, pop-up blocker, customizable javascript settings and standards compliant! What else can a true geek/nerd/freak ask for? Don't take my word for it though, see for yourself...

Read the original post here. You can download Ad-Aware 6.0 from the Lavasoft homepage. (Don't forget to run the update utility before starting a scan, a recently updated reference file is available!)

You can find the MainPean company here (page is in german)

Creative Commons

Last night I was looking at the newest additions in MT and I decided to check out the Creative Commons a bit more. It turns out to be an interesting option to keep your work and content copyrighted, while giving others a possibility to use it as well.

After some deliberation I picked the Attribution - Non Commercial - Share Alike license since I figured that would suit my blog best. To find out in detail what this means, click on the Creative Commons License button in the right hand column!

Helpdesk - Helldesk

A rather interesting study on the operation of helpdesks and callcenters.

Why is it so interesting? Because I'm in the process of studying and evaluating a helpdesk/callcenter setup. I'm sure it'll turn out as a HELLDESK though... as most helpdesks do if you put the right type of operators on it ;)

All kinds of stuff

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* While I was checking financial statements and incoming as well as paid bills, I noticed 1 bill that charged me for 2 months that I already paid. Apparently, the first payment went to another account number as the one they list now. I'll have to get in touch with them and have them take note of my prior payment as well.

* I just received a renewal notice for some of the domains I own. Total amount due pretty soon : € 129.00 - Damn, but I'm not dropping those names!

* I'm off to an IT Security seminar next week on thursday. I hope Dimitri will be joining me.

* I took care of some paperwork I still had laying around, but I need some extra things to file them in a proper way. Should pick some ordners up tomorrow.

* Need to send a mail to myself to remember to make copies of some things, in order to facilitate proving the error mentioned on top. I think I'll contact them in person on thursday on friday.

* I'm probably forgetting a whole lot of things now, but I'm having a hard time concentrating lately. I wonder why?! (this should be sarcasm at it's best)

Added later on :

* A new version of Movable Type (MT) has been released, but today I got a mailinglist update that a security flaw was found in Author.pm. A new version 2.61 has been released, and when I checked the MT website just a few seconds ago, a patched 2.62 version has also been released to fix the flaw that exists in 2.6 and 2.61. This is exactly why I don't upgrade to the newest version right away. I'll run my current version for a few more days and monitor stability and more possible flaws to be announced in the new version, before even considering an upgrade.

Holy Car Shit!

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While I was driving home on friday, I spotted a Mini Cooper S in front of me. At first I thought that the driver was either not aware of the technical specs and possibilities of the car, or that he was very cautious.

It soon turned out that was not the case as he sped away when the light flashed green. While going around 190 (120 mph), I was finally able to keep up with the little car. My Beamie (BMW 320d break) was close to it's max - I believe that should be around 200 - but I think the Mini Cooper S still had more under the hood.

I used to drive a Mini when I was younger, and I still love the car, although it's pretty hard to compare the standard model I drove to this BMW powered Mini Cooper S that I was following. Just to give you an idea of what a Mini Cooper S that I'd like to drive would cost :

Mini Cooper S with Cosmos Black finish, Leather profile Panther Black and a nice set of 5 spoke alloy wheels. Price : € 25.130,00

So... that would mean that in case I had the money, you'd find a Mini Cooper S in my garage, as well as an Audi TT.

Audi TT of my choice :

Audi TT Coup� S Line, 225 HP, 6 gearbox. Price : € 46.994,25

That's of course providing the brand new Audi TT Quattro 3.2 is not yet for sale :)

Mohawks and Minigolf

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I returned about 30 minutes ago from Joco's place where we played with little Alex. The original idea was to take him out and go play a game of minigolf, but there were some many people out in the park that we gave up.

So we just had a walk through the park - Alex can walk alone now, but sometimes still trips - and when we were heading back to the car, I put him on my shoulders and he loved it. When we got home, we gave him a fresh made mix of mashed fruits, something he clearly loves, and Joco took some pictures. I hope he'll mail them to me later tonight so that I can add some to this post.

By the time Eef got back home, Alex was rather tired and also sporting a very nice mohawk. It's funny to see what you can do with so little hair and even less gel. And before I get comments about people reporting me to "Gaia for people" : mind your own business. Alex didn't mind it... in fact, he was more interested in grabbing the firmly closed bottle of gel, as he was interested in his hair standing up straight.

Alex eating mashed fruit - Click for 800x600 photograph  Alex with his new Mohawk - Click for 800x600 photograph

Spy and Malware

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While I was browsing some sites today, I suddenly got a trigger to save an .exe file. I of course know better than that, so I declined. I'm not suprised, things like that happen all the time.

When I scanned my box with the brand new Ad-Aware (version 6 has been released) I did find a registry key from a dialer! What? I didn't save the file, yet somehow a dialer key was inserted into my registry! That's pretty strange, so I set out to get at least an idea what this MainPean dialer key was. It didn't take me too long to find out that it is indeed a dialer, created by a german company called MainPean. I flushed the registry key out, and will continue my business.

I do wonder however, how less techy people can defend themselves from dialers, spyware, trojans and malware that seem to float around everywhere... It's a bad bad world, let me tell you that. I'll continue fighting evil in a few hours, but now I'm off for a long hot bath :)

There must be more souls...

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I just finished watching The Matrix - once more - and I realize that it is a movie that challenges everything we know. It presents us with a thought that might or might not be real. Would we know it?

Final Fantasy actually triggered me to think the same, and it's a process that has never left me since I saw it. What is reality, and how do we perceive it?

Have you seen movies that made ask you the same question? If so, I'd definitely want to hear about it, and if possible watch them myself. It is something that is open for discussion, and a lot of my friends look at me like I'm a weirdo when I present my idea's about things like that. One might believe they are right, but it doesn't stop me from thinking about it. And I don't blame them for doing so.

So... what movie, or experience makes you wonder about life and it's reality? I'm really hoping to find some souls out there that think alike. I refuse to believe that I am the (only) One :)

Just some links

for your entertainment.

Rammstein Fan Site : Herzeleid (MP3 and Music Video downloads!)
The Matrix & The Animatrix: The Matrix Reloaded (Official WB site)
Escape Artist : Step out of your regular life (If only I could afford it)

Lazy ass bastard...

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This is not a hoax, this is not a joke, and it wasn't even for fun. This morning (around 08h45) Stephanie got a call from our boss that she had to lead a meeting (for 25 people) starting at 10h00. When she told me as soon as I came in, I wasn't really suprised. We should have known it that he'd pull such a lame stunt.

Anyway, around 9h30 the first ones started to arrive, and we did a very good job at the meeting. In less than one hour we were able to get all information (well, the little info we have) streamlined and presented in a acceptable way. And the boss? He was sitting in a chair, looking like a cow that sees a train pass by for the first time.

Since the meeting had quite some technical details, I did a large part of it, while Stephanie did the more general parts. Since the meeting was for a bilangual public, we also needed to switch from Dutch to French and back all the time. I agree that it wasn't perfect, but we did well. I bet he wouldn't have suspected it from us - or maybe he just counted on the fact that the dummies would cover his ass, once more.

Eat my heart out, you lazy bastard, if you think you can annoy us with stunts like that, you really don't have a clue, do you?

Oh, after the meeting we had individual sessions planned with the public to set some things straight, get details and brainstorm. He did two groups, and we haven't got a clue what he promised or told them this time. I guess we'll find out some day?

Around 13h00 he had to leave in a rush because he had a dinner meeting with his wife and son, and his brother-in-law came over from tenerife. I guess that's indeed more important as talking to your employees - the same ones that have not been paid in 4 months - or working hard to prevent your company from going bankrupt. He clearly picked the option that was the easiest way out... and again, I'm not suprised.

Oh... I did forget to tell the best part of it all! As he was on his way out, he told Stephanie and I that we could go out and have something to eat as well, if we wanted. Yeah right. No pay for four months equals no money for food, and especially not for going out for something. But that's something you certainly wouldn't understand, would you?

Update : later on during the day he called us and said he was impressed with our presentation. He also said that it almost seemed like he was not needed at all. I had quite a few witty replies up my sleeve, but decided to shut up.

We were allowed to go home early (15h20 or so instead of 17h00) as it was pretty quiet at the office, and because of the good weather... Right. I think the real reason was that he didn't feel like coming into the office for the rest of the afternoon at all.

He did stop by (that's when he called us, as we were in the top-level office), and dropped off the mail, but didn't even bother opening the registered mail. If you wonder why, here's the explenation : registered mail is either from suppliers demanding their money, or from employees demanding the same. And that's something he just can't be bothered with right now.

Snif Snif

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My eyes are tearing and hurt, I'm sneezing so hard I could launch myself to the moon, and my head's spinning and dizzy. I think Suzana infected me with some kind of nasty bug. I might be better off staying home and sleep it off, but a meeting has been called for tomorrow morning and I suppose my technical advice will be needed.

I've gotta do interviews with technicians, dispatching and such, while even I don't know yet what exactly their task would be. I think I'm gonna throw all of them into a group and brainstorm a bit... It'll get them into the project, and could provide answers to some questions that remain open right now. I'm a loyal dumbass :(

Duh!

I just got off the phone with S. and we chatted for a while. I offered to stop by tomorrow morning with some breakfast, but due to certain causes we can hardly control, we decided it would/could be a bad idea. I feel good, even with all the shit going on at the office.

I managed to get in touch with Esther during lunchbreak, and she told me that she wont be returning next week. Her leave has been extended with another 7 days at least.

If only life were simpler... but would it be that entertaining?

Tip to waste time : play Risk 2.

Which Pulp Fiction Character are you?

Which Pulp Fiction Character are you?

An Elvis man, you like you women dangerous and your steaks bloody. You often get wrapped up in landscapes and fail to realize the danger you put yourself into. Don't get cocky, and don't get caught. It might be good to lay off the drugs every once in a while. Just a suggestion.

Note : I don't do drugs... so it's hard to lay off them. Which makes it even more scary, doesn't it?

Message to the world : FUCK YOU!

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Fuck it all. I've got a headache, am very pissed and generally speaking irritated because of various reasons. Time came to a crawling halt today, and especially the afternoon just kept on being the afternoon.

"He" keeps on being positive, and wants us to prepare a shitload of things. However, prepare them while knowing that there is no money, nor will there be any money tomorrow. I'm in charge of the technical details of setting up a helpdesk - something I've never done, I never even worked on a helpdesk before - and that helpdesk will not be located in one place, but over two geographical locations.

So, it comes down to this : find out out how to run a helpdesk, look into software, manage to install the software, test it, learn it to it's finest details, set up everything needed regarding telecom (phones and such), talk to the people that will perform various tasks on that helpdesk (and related administration) and explain to them what they'll have to do, and make sure they are the right person for the job. When you're done, give me a solution to solve the huge sound problems we currently have in the room destined to become the helpdesk operation room (did anyone say eeeeccchhhhhooooo?), and compare printers to print bills each month.

Here's the data you can work with : nothing
Here's the budget you've got to do testing : 0
Here's when it all has to be operational : 10 working days (7 left now)
Here's the budget you can use to order materials (PC's, software, telecom) : 0
Here's the amount the company still owes you (give or take a bit) : € 5000

Now go an do all these things for me, and be quick and discrete and I almost forgot : positive attitude!

Oh.. I forgot something! I'm sorry, but you can't use the mobile phone anymore for outbound calls... 'coz that's been disabled for the past two weeks. If you wanna call, run down 3 levels (or take the elevator) and call. Then run back up, and continue your job. Are you with me?

Oh, and another thing... if someone calls, I'm not here, I won't accept any calls, and just handle it for me, will you?

And what do I say? FUCK YOU!

Note : The software problem is solved I think, as I've got a very promising package running on my own personal server, but it can be as good as gold, if he's not paying for a server, I'm not installing it. I run the testsite because I can, and because I can use the knowledge. I'm not doing it for him.

Muawahahhaaa!

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Just saw an incoming document, and it seems like at least one person is not pleased with the latest promises. Keep it up! I really really wanna see something happening now, since that obviously is the only way to get something done.

It wouldn't suprise me that if people (read suppliers) start treathening to do certain things, suddenly funds are/become available. However, paying his loyal (stupid?) employees that come in every day, and have not been paid in full since october last year (yeps, that's nearly 4 months!) is impossible.

Yes, I've totally lost it now. I'd go see a doctor, but there are two small problems :

1. There is no money to go see a doctor
2. I think they'd put me away before I really flip out.

Living la vida loca!

ISP Woes

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Here we go again... it's been a rather long time since they fucked up this majorly, but Skynet sucks once more! The news server (usenet) has been having problems for the last 2 months, and while it was definitely better the past 2 weeks, we've returned to the "wait-for-a-long-time-and-then-get-a-timeout" post retrieving mechanism.

Webmail only works in 20% of the time, and connecting to the POP3 server to retreive or send mail fails frequently. Apparently they focussed more on upgrading their linespeed to 3.3 Mbit instead of realizing that they also need servers that can handle the load. My advice to everyone right now : avoid skynet!

Moving

I've just learned that tomorrow a new phase will commence, and it won't be for the better. Right on baby!

It just keeps dragging on, and I'd rather have suppliers make it difficult for us, opposed to them being tricked into waiting on for a few more days. Yes, that's a pretty bizzare way to think, but maybe that's the only way left to get things moving.

Sundays @ friedkitten.com

What have I done all day long? Good question... I've worked on the photographs a bit, played GTA3 on PC (both kicked ass, and got ass kicked) and reviewed about 16 BME experiences. I've done about 150 in total now, and I try to do a few every day. I picked up stuff around the house, cleaned the ferret cage and entertained them, had something to eat, watched a bit of TV and did two full machines of laundry (which is now drying).

I think I'm gonna play some more GTA3. Oh, and I replied to Eef's mail about Durbuy. So far it looks like it's gonna be the weekend of the 18th of July, but I'll know more after wednesday.

Note to Joco : I'll take a look at that ACDSee addon.
Note to Heather : You could have tested the Rub my Duckie toy if you had send a mail :) If something new comes up for testing, I'll make sure to send you a mail about it!

Photo

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I've just spend some time uploading all the photographs I still had sitting on the flashcard to PC, and checked and resized them all. Now I'm gonna look for a nifty script that can automatically create thumbnails, and output solid XHTML webpages that don't need too much editing before I can put everything online. Suggestions are always welcome!

Bare with me... I'm a lazy ass, but at one point in time, the photographs will be available.

Definitely insane!

Call me insane crazy, or crazy insane, but today (saturday!) I have been playing around with a helpdesk ticketing system that needs my testing to see if can do what I want it to do. I also gave tech support to my boss - by phone - and spend close to 2 hours working on a desktop PC that had problems with it's net connection and behaved quite erraticly on a whole. And I didn't charge any for it, where I could easily have gotten €50 or € 60 out of it.

The 'client' told me that I'd never get rich that way... I know, but I can't help myself. Money is good to be able to do things, but that's it. Money itself has no value to me, it's what you (can) do with it.

Good?

We just got a positive call - business related - and things "should" definitly be on track now. Yes, I'm still holding back, because as far as I can see, a zillion things can still go wrong. Somebody is happily dancing and bouncing through the building, call all kinds of people to tell them about the news, but I'd wait if I were him.

I also got a call from the union today concerning my file, and it turns out nothing has been done yet. At least now I know that and the person handling it is now convinced that all data he needs is included. My letter should be leaving on monday or tuesday.

Are there...

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still possibilities on the stockmarket, even with a possible war in Iraq, and a definite tense situation in North Korea? I would think so... stocks are very low, and will probably stay that way till at least one situation - preferably both - is solved.

Would I invest in stock? Hell yes, but I won't. There simply is not enough spare cash to buy right now, and while I know that the stockmarket *can* be a good way to work your money, it also is risky, especially when going for the short term gains. I'm not talking days here, but 4 to 8 weeks. If I had been paid as promised, I would have bought more CISCO to lower my overall break even. That stock still has a loooong way to go before I'm where I started, but I think it is promising overall.

Joco will tell me I'm a fool for not looking at technical data, financial reports and such, and I know that... but markets (can) go up when they should be going down and vice versa. There is more to stocks than just technical data.

My first concern right now is to just sit out the ride and see where we end up workwise, and then see what can and should be done. Which reminds me : todays magical number would be 4735 (again give or take a few hundred).

I Rub my Duckie, Tony replies...

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I just got a reply from Tony (Big Teaze Toys, manufacturer) to the reviews done by Ash & Kat on the "I rub my Duckie" toy. As promised, I'm posting it right here... Should you want to read the reviews first, this is the way to go, and if you'd like to know how all of this started, look here.

Hi there,

Thank you for the notice, I appreciate you taking the time to review our Duckie. Of course different people are going to like different toys. For some people our Duckie is perfect north of the border, others prefer is south.
Sometimes you just have to find the right way to use them. If you want to try
something fantastic, get your friends with the two ducks to do your neck with
both of them at the same time. Its fantastic.

Yours
Tony

Well, I think it's great to get a reply like that. I think most manufacturers would have remained silent and just ignored my mail... Not Tony! He replies in a very nice way and admits that everyone might like another toy, and that the Duckie is no exception to it.

Does this mean the Duckie is a bad toy? No, I'd say it is not... It just somehow didn't work for my test team, but it might turn out to be the perfect "pet" for you :)

I am Ally McBeal

Yes, I am... She's 31, I'm about to be 30. She's always inbetween short relationships, I don't even have that (neither am I looking for it). She's afraid to get hurt, so am I. She's just practical, and I think that sums it up very well... I'm a practical guy.

I like wining and dining, but when I do so, I do it more for the company I'm with as I do it for the food. Daily food must be prepared and munched in less then 20 to 30 minutes. If it takes longer, I feel like I'm wasting time. Same goes for pretty much everything in my life : don't waste time, get right to the point and do what you have to do.

Yet today I stepped up to the plate and said what I had to say to someone... well, more or less I did. It was by e-mail rather than face to face (now don't you go "Oooooh... how romantic!") and I got the answer I expected, and I don't feel bad about it in any way. Was it a no? Was it a yes? Was it a "not right now"? Who knows... I know, I think, and she knows. Well, to be honest, I think we both don't know.

OK... other things now... Just called my boss again since he called me on the mobile and I didn't hear it as I left it in my home office and I was in the living room, watched Charmed and Ally McBeal. I gotta come in early tomorrow as something very important has come up. "We" need to talk some things through before we start our day in the office and some of us head off to discuss details.

Does this sound like I am positive about the situation? Maybe it does, but I'm not (yet). I'm not going to believe anything until I have personally verified the signed contracts and deals. If you ask me, this deal is finalised and completed when I see bling bling on my account. Not one second earlier.

I'm a fool, but not that much of a fool :)

I rub my duckie : review

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Yes! After quite a while and some serious testing - thanks to Ash and Kat - I've received the first test results on the adult toy of the year 2002 : "I rub my duckie".

I was rather suprised to read the reviews however as they turned out quite different from what I expected... but, I won't spoil anything yet, here are the reviews.

Ash writes the following : I was recently given the generous gift of "I Rub My Duckie", a waterproof, vibrating rubber duck. Try to picture me excitedly cutting open the packaging to free my new-found friend from his confines! What can I say? I was anxious to see what it could do!

To begin with, Duckie isn't exactly rubber. He's more like an inflexible matte finish plastic. I loaded him up with batteries (which were included) and set out to find his "on" switch! It turns out there's a spot on his back that's just flexible enough to push in, and that's how you turn him on and off. Now to see if he would turn ME on...

I examined it for a few minutes, trying to find which part of Duckie had the strongest vibrations, found it to be at the tip of the tail, and set about seeing if
he could do the trick!

"Hmm, not too bad. Damn this thing is hard to get in the right spot. I wonder if ServMe REALLY wants pictures of me trying SO ATTRACTIVELY to jam this thing between my thighs. Boy, that sure would be erotic? It might help if this thing weren't so WIDE. Heh, usually width is a GOOD thing, a VERY GOOD thing.

Heh, heh heh heh, heh heh heh heh heh, heh heh heh heh heh heh heh. Dammit, this isn't working, but hey, it feels pretty good on my neck and shoulders? Yeah, I think it's staying there instead."

In conclusion, I'd have to say that "I Rub My Duckie" makes a great conversation piece, and a pleasant shoulder massage, but it's really not suited for more erotic pleasures. And that's unfortunate.

The batteries are now in "Mr. Egg", my best friend. :)

Wow... that sure is not what you expected as a review from a toy that for the Best Sex Toy Award of 2002, is it? Let's hear what Kat has to say about it...

"I Rub My Duckie - A tale of love and hate by Kat Chronister."

Recently, I received the joyous gift of a sexual enhancing device. Sweet rapture! Every woman should receive something so wonderful from their friends!

Upon arrival, the package was gingerly opened and placed on the table in front of me (while my roommate savagely ripped her packaging apart and ran straight to her bedroom). I stared at it for a bit then realized that the only way to find out if this contraption worked was to take it into the 'adult novelty test site' (aka: my bedroom).

Batteries in place, I set out to find the on switch. There was none. As I turned the duck over and about I accidently pressed it's back and it turned on. I screamed and the mood was lost with every giggle that escaped my lips but I was a woman on a mission. I would test this and I would test whether I could orgasm with plastic eyes staring at me - accusing me of doing 'fowl' things with it.

*shudder*

Pressing on (no pun intended), I set out to find the part of the duck that had the most vibration. Hrm...the head wasn't it. The side didn't work so well either. Aha! The tail! Hrm...quite honestly, the vibration wasn't too intense and unfortunately, it was difficult to hold on to. I found myself adjusting and fidgeting and cursing - not a good thing when you're trying to have a good time. I found that as far as orgasmic experiences you'd be more apt to have an orgasm riding your home speakers than with Mr. Duckie.

It's a cute conversation piece and a great massager but as soon as the testing was over, the batteries got put back in my bullet and I was a much happier girl. All in all, I think my Duckie will be better left out of the 'test site' and left on my window sill.

And there it is again!? It surely doesn't seem like this toy does what it should be doing! I'm gonna send both of these honest reviews off to the manufacturer and see if I can get a reply from them. I hope they stand by their product and can shed a light on something the test team has missed?

No need to add anything.

Life�s a bitch... and some days it has puppies

Is this heaven?

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While I was watching TV - Tour of Duty - I had opened the ferrets cage and Tisha and Happy came out to play for a while. Bono also jumped out, but jumped back in after about 10 minutes to eat some food and sleep some more. Plush and Max didn't even bother waking up :)

Anyway, while Tisha was still roaming the livingroom, Happy jumped up onto the couch to lay down in his spot : the center seat, on a pillow. He then curls up and takes a nap. I scratched him behind his ears and on his neck and he just enjoyed it so much, that was quite obvious. After about 5 minutes I stopped, and he looked at me and went to sleep right there, next to me. So peaceful and quiet.

I wonder what goes on in those little fuzzball's head : "We live in a gigantic house where a hand lives that feeds us, plays with us and scratches us behind our ears whenever we feel like it. Are we in a place commonly referred to as heaven?"

Is your site optimized?

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While I could have done more interesting things today - how about coding or setting up a system for photographs, something I should have done a loooong time ago - I got hooked up at Dive into Accessibility and decided to check if there was much I could improve upon.

As I suspected, most of the tips to make a site more accessible for people using text only browers, or those who are blind, colorblind, or navigate by shortcuts rather then a mice, had already been implemented.

I did however add a proper definition of the language (important for Google searches, and for screen reader software like JAWS) used on this blog. I also removed most of the target definitions makes each link open in a new window.

Why, you might wonder? Because I learned that it is very annoying for some disabled people, and as well because it is depreciated in XHTML and it's future versions. I have not yet gone through the complete 30 day list of tips and tricks, and some things will probably not be implemented at all, but I feel like a better person already.

Is your site optimized?

Columbia & Kyoto

Today the space shuttle Columbia broke up as it re-entered the atmosphere, killing 7 crewmembers. Is that bad? Yes it sure is, but as someone pointed out : those crewmembers did know in advance it (space travel) was dangerous and they knew the risks. Does that make it less painful? It sure does not.

Things like the press release below however, are - if you ask me - a gigantic slap in the face of everyone who works at NASA and the families of the crew :

An administration official said the shuttle's altitude - over 200,000 feet - made it "highly unlikely" that the shuttle fell victim to a terrorist act.

We have no information at this time that indicates that this was a terrorism incident," said Gordon Johndroe, press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security. "Obviously, the investigation is just beginning, but that is what we know now.

Get real people... there are other things as international terrorism, the war with Iraq and North Korea working on/with nuclear devices.

If tomorrow someone can prove "God" does not exist, I'm sure some will blame international terrorists for killing "God".

Get real, stay focussed. Instead of dragging the complete international community into something that 75% of the world population opposes, it would be much wiser to tackle some of the problems that cause all of this. If a certain leader keeps on pushing his views and idea's onto others, he's gonna either hit a hard brick wall head first, or get totally isolated.

Remember Kyoto my dear friend, remember Kyoto. If you really think you can solve any problem in the world by yourself, or with the aid of your warmachine, or by just ignoring anyone who doesn't agree, you'll make it hard on yourself, and hard for your country.

Funky!

It apparently has kept on snowing throughout the day... not those large flakes, but the tiny ones, making everything outside look blurry and vague. I just headed over to the supermarket and while my intention was to drive off to the somewhat larger one a few miles away, I changed my mind when I stepped outside.

The roads are completely covered in snow, one can't see the markings anymore and a quick look around told me that I would even have a hard time finding the car. I'm pretty bad when it comes to remembering where I parked the car to begin with, so imagine looking for a green one if everything is covered in white snow.

As I was walking over to the supermarket about a quarter mile away, I noticed how the world goes quiet if it snows. Everything changes, looks different, feels different and sounds different. Of course this is not the first time I see and experience snow, but I was still amazed by the transformation.

Would you like to know what it looks like when one sees snow, and is not used to it? Take a look at the photographs of my godson Alex who apparently enjoyed himself a lot today.

Techy update

The domain has been temporarily unavailable due to some technical maintenance on the Network Operation Center (NOC) level. I don't expect any more downtime.

30 and no place to go.

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This is post number 920. If I think hard about it, I come to the conclusion that I have no life except my job. And my job both sucks majorly right now, and will probably be extinct in about a month.

Would that please me? Yes, in a way it certainly wood, but I fear that with the job, I'll also lose some people that I've grown rather fond of, and that doesn't please me at all.

In case you didn't notice yet, this is gonna be one hell of a whining post indeed. Why? Because I fuckin' can and feel like it. I'm tired (just returned from the pub where we had another tablesoccer competition game) and although I liked the presence of my friends and all the fun, I just couldn't concentrate or really get into it. We played cards and I did win quite a few hands, but didn't bother to count cards, and I even realised that in some games I was partnering up with the wrong person. That's about how distracted I am.

I got the brochure about the upcoming weekend in Drubuy as well, but even simple things like deciding what I'd like to do, or when I can/can't go on a weeked are too distant and difficult right now. I'll be thirty this year, and what have I accomplished?

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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