May 2008 Archives

I now pronounce you

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I bet you were thinking Chuck and Larry, weren't you? Wrong guess :)

I now pronounce my main machine to be terminally ill, and practically deceased. While it was running rather stable last night with some extra cooling - thus strengthening my guess that some fan wasn't up to it's task anymore - today it shut down without any error and rebooted, twice. Sounds like something is seriously amiss, ain't it?

Anyway, I followed Hilda's "Zen Zen Zen" advice and flicked the power off, dropped a load of laundry in the washer and went to take a shower. No need to go crazy about something I saw coming. I managed to write a couple of CD's last night containing a bunch of things I'll need if I reinstall or move to another machine, and all (I think I got them all) my passwords are safely backed up as well, so till I have decided what to do with the old box, there is no need to stress about anything. Sure, access and reply to mail may be a bit slower, but all things considered, this ain't something that can't be resolved with some effort and focus.

Oh, because I can't stay away from privacy related topics, I'm pointing you to a complete set of instructions regarding preserving evidence on electronic devices to be followed by UK police officers at ACPO Guidelines for Computer Evidence (PDF format, 2.7MB). I do that not because I want you to know how to commit the perfect crime, but because it'll make you understand that traces are left everywhere and removing data may be practically impossible.

Yikes

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In the past two or three hours, my main computer has shit itself twice on some kernel stack inpage error, also know as a dreaded Blue Screen Of Death. According to some online resources I've found, it most likely points to an imminent hardware failure, possibly RAM or hard disks.

Since I suspect that temperature could also be related to the issue at hand, I've set up an extra fan to give additional airflow while I figure out what is the exact cause. If the disks are failing, the problem is rather easily solved, as I've got two 80GB disks laying around as spares. I got those last year when I suspected HD failure already.

I'm just trying to decide whether to head off to bed now and backup/rebuild and reinstall the complete machine tomorrow, or wait till next week when I've got a bit more time between shifts. Worst case scenario, it all crashes before and I switch to my laptop or the other machine.

Funny thing is that I fixed a couple of computers for others today, and now end up holding the shortest straw. Where's karma when you need it?

Please? Especially for you...

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I was under the impression that hardly anyone used the schedule I post on the site and those that try using it, generally end up confused, but in the past week I've had two people independently say that they missed knowing when to reach me. So, as soon as I'm done editing this entry, I'll start adding the schedule for June.

Because I love you all so much, yes I do.

Faster, pussycat! Kill! Kill!

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I get home from work and switch on the TV and notice some old movie playing. After some searching I find out that it's Faster, pussycat! Kill! Kill!

First released in 1965, I'm still enjoying this politically incorrect flick.

On the Moov

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After last weeks experience regarding unannounced maintenance on roads that seriously affected my ability to get to work, I decided to step into the era of mobile navigation.

I hope this new toy will help my avoid wasting my time and swiftly move me around, over or under traffic jams. I realize that it is not a chopper that'll fly me directly to my destination, but it should come quite close.

I had the latest issue of CT magazine handy, where a bunch of affordable personal navigation devices (PND) were tested and compared, so after spending a morning searching for some more info, I set out to shop. One of the devices that had already caught my eye was the MIO C620T, which was top of the line and had a TMC receiver built in. It had quite a good review, though it was a bit more expensive than I preferred. The new Moov line of Mio wasn't tested yet, as the devices came in after the deadline.

I came home with the new Mio Moov 370, sporting bluetooth (so I can pair it with my mobile phone and call hands free), TMC that should guide me around traffic jams and accidents, a 4.3 inch color display with 2D and 3D maps for Europe. Including a protective bag to safely carry it around when not installed in the car, it set me back about 270 euro, which is not all that hefty if you ask me. If I spend a couple of more hours in a traffic jam, it would cost me as well.

The second I walked out the store and stepped into the car, I set the PND up and let it guide me home. I'm rather impressed by it's performance. The map is updated quickly and upcoming turns are announced right on time, not too early, not too late. Sure enough, testing a new device when drive a route well known may seem like a bit of a fake attempt, but I gave it a bit to chew on as well, lol. Once the route was calculated, I headed off and then decided not to follow the proposed route, but instead make an early turn to see how quickly it would pick up and reroute me. Seconds after deliberately leaving the route, it had noticed and given me a new route to follow. Nice, very nice!

Once I got home - of course - I hooked the device up to the laptop to see if any new updates for it were available. It also sports a database with the locations of speed camera's and such, which could come in handy, though I usually stick to the limits pretty well.

Wakka Chikka Volume 2, baby

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I can't recall whether I ever blogged or referred to Wakka Chikka Wakka Chikka Porn Music for the Masses Volume 1 on this blog, but I'd like to point out that Volume 2 was released earlier this year - on February 14th 2008 to be precise. You can take a look at the track list or download it entirely at WM Recordings.

Since I seem to have lost my Volume 1 disc, I downloaded that one again as well, and then
burned both volumes.

Apparently, the zip file for Volume 1 doesn't seem to exist anymore at Comfortstand, but you can still grab all the individual tracks.

For those utterly confused as to what they are to expect when downloading : it's music, not porn :) However, in order to really appreciate the album, I suppose some exposure to 70's porn would be beneficial. Think grooves, think deep voices, think sex. Think Roller Girl in Boogie Nights. Which reminds me : who borrowed my copy of that movie?!

If you like the music, also check out fluffertraX.com for more goodness.

Better get out of my way

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When I arrived at work last night, I was annoyed. Well, maybe annoyed isn't really the right word, seriously pissed off may better describe my state of happiness.

I left home a couple of minutes past nine PM, expecting to arrive at work about 35 minutes later. Instead I arrived an hour and 45 minutes later! Warning signs popping up on the displays above the highway once you actually are driving on it, announcing that maintenance work is underway in a tunnel up ahead, is not really helpful! Warn people about traffic jams ahead of time, before they drive onto the highway, not once the choice has been made and there is no more escape route.

Anyway, I arrived at work an hour late and ready to tear some heads off. I'm glad to be back in Belgium, I tell you.

Slow day

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After hitting the bed real late - starting a graveyard shift tonight - most of my day was spent sleeping, cleaning up, unloading the dishwasher, doing laundry, checking and paying bills and filing paperwork. In about a month the yearly tax forms have to be filled out as well and to be honest, I think I'm still lacking a lot of documents. Or I did receive them, but filed them somewhere I can't recall.

I guess I'll spend some hours digging for them this weekend, unless someone comes up with more interesting things to do :)

Uh Oh!

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While trying to revive a shopping service I haven't used in months, if not years, I came to the conclusion that the email address attached to the account is no longer active. To make things worse, I have no clue what password I have set up, so it's not a simple matter of logging in and changing the destination address to which a security reminder would be sent.

So, I log in to the domain on which the e-mail account is supposed to be active and find out it is not. No wonder my messages are not arriving as expected :-) While trying to figure out if I can add on a second mailbox - should be a piece of cake, but not with the setup as it currently is - I switch over to my actual hosting account where I can easily set up numerous mail accounts. While taking a look at the available resources, I find that one specific catchall address has gathered 2092 messages, all of them spam, lol.

Needless to say, all messages are removed and I'm checking other accounts to see if the same problem may exist elsewhere. As soon as I'm done with that, I'll turn off the catchall and start moving the first e-mail address to my hosting account instead of the register account and then - hopefully - be able to access it once again.

I guess a regular checkup on accounts and settings is the best way to go, before things really turn into a mess.

Update : the changes have been made and everything is once again functioning as expected. While browsing for information about a specific type of magnetic card reader/writer, I visited the site of the manufacturer, located in Korea. I will not provide a name nor link to that site, because I have a very strong suspicion that is has been compromised and is serving visitors malicious code that is being loaded from a Chinese site. I'm running a full system scan as I write this and even though I did also visit the site with IE - a browser I rarely use - I have good hopes that my defense in depth has averted an actual infection.

The site administrator has been contacted and I'm awaiting a reply.

ServMe vs Wallet

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Do you know how hard it is to find a wallet that's just right? No frivolous attachments no one ever uses and just enough space to fit the multitude of plastic you gather over the years? My last wallet had pretty much all of that, and the replacement I got today seems to come close, but it misses two see through flaps to hold drivers license, ID card etc. The one it has will have to do I suppose. It also has a separate section for coins, which I doubt I'll ever use. It just takes up space, makes it unnecessary bulky and a ton of change doesn't sit well in a back pocket.

Still, as the old one had been reduced to a collection of leather flaps hanging by threads, I had little choice but to go out and buy a new one. I just finished moving the contents to the new wallet and since everything fits, I suppose all is well. However, day to day use will have to confirm that.

I know some of you dread my technical or privacy related posts, but if I didn't feel the absolute need to post about these topics, I probably wouldn't. However, privacy and freedom is something you only learn to value when it's taken away from you, so there is a need to vigilant about it.

How many of you know that laptops and other electronic devices can be searched when crossing borders? It happens frequently when entering the USA, but according to the article Crossing Borders with Laptops and PDAs it is also a common practice in other countries such as the UK.

While I didn't take all precautions while traveling with my laptop, it was (and remains) completely encrypted with a strong password and all content that wasn't needed specifically was removed before packing it.

While you should in fact wonder why it is that officials are allowed to search your devices - wouldn't that amount to reading your snail mail? - it may be too late to turn those regulations around, so you better come prepared.

A very short update

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I'm back home with only about one hour of delay. I also located my mobile phone - battery dead as a mummified pharaoh - in a pair of shoes I decided not to take with me last minute. Off to make a bunch of phone calls, sift through a huge pile of snail mail and I don't even dare looking at the amount of e-mail awaiting me. (I just looked : only 511 messages, most of them spam, phew!)

Update : I got a call around 21h55 from someone at work, wondering whether or not I was coming in for a night shift. I explained I had our site supervisor give me the days off two weeks ago and that he confirmed by mail. Apparently, he "forgot" to arrange someone to replace me. Never mind, I won't be going in for work.

In under 24 hours we should be on the plane taking us back to Belgian soil, back to more moderate temperatures, possibly rain, though we had a bit of that over here as well today. All things considered, it seems we've picked the best week so far to stay, as the weather forecast for next week for the "Gay capital of Europe" consists of a mixture of rain and sun. I think I've seen as much sun and sand in the past seven days as I've seen in my whole life so far and I've definitely spent more time laying by the pool and in the sun than I've ever done before. There may even be a hint of a tan forming on my pale white skin - if it ever moves past the lobster red phase, he he.

It turned out to be a very relaxed holiday mostly consisting of laying in the sun, taking long walks along the shore - feet cooling off in the breaking waves - and strolling around the town. Other activities included having cool drinks, eating and looking at women. I never imagined I could fill this much time with quite so little.

Was Ibiza everything I thought it would be? To be honest, I don't know. I had visions of all night parties, and we didn't really party at all in the literal sense of the word. Instead we relaxed, enjoyed the view and had many a drinks on the hotel terrace, chatting amongst ourselves or with people we met. Was it everything it could be? Certainly. Because - this is something I seem to understand a little better each day - life is what you make of it, the strictest limits being those you set for yourself. I've finally come to the conclusion that there is no point in pretending to be what you are not. You can lead the horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Depending on the world I reside in, I am King, Beggar or Joe Average.

So, how was it to basically live together with Joco for a week? We've known each other for many a years now, and have come to accept the other as he is. I must say that a week is enough and I'll be glad to be back on my own for a while. I sense I'm getting close to my "get the hell out of my way and leave me alone" threshold though I doubt that is specifically due to his presence, but more to my own ability to continuously take into account the feelings, needs and expectations of others.

I've been a bit of a loner all my life - independent with but a twist of dependency - and no matter how you turn it, it seems to be the basic state I return to.

Okay, enough with the sappy emo posts now, once I am home and caught up, I'll return to my regular mixture of posts, possibly much to the dispear of some readers, grin.

Ibiza blog part 8

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Ola amigos del Belgica; eso so Joco.

Saturday afternoon, only 2 days to go... time flies if you're having fun, even if this means doing nothing at all all day long.

As you've all been reading above, we spend our days by doing exactly what we are good at, for me personally this means, in random order: eating, watching bikini's, monokini's and things that have no name cause they are way too small to deserve a name, and of course : drinking cuba libres (although today they suddenly don't taste that good anymore - I think my body doesn't like the coca-cola anymore) .

This together makes days in Ibiza almost perfect, but let me be honest, although having great fun all day long, during nights, I miss that perfectly sweet lady that has been in my arms at night for over 13 years now, you all know who I mean, the lovely Eef.

The attention from our new friend Petra does not help at all :) Although it's nice to realise that even bad looking men with a huge stomache get attention from the other side. Damn I felt strange when things turned out she was after me instead of ServMe. This was not the plan behind it... life is strange.

But I'm just trying to turn this into my advantage, I think I'm the only one in the hotel getting personal drink service at the pool... but it's now really neccessary she understands that nothing at all could help her getting even closer to me. I told her about Eef, the kids, and all she replies is : you're in Ibiza, they are not... like if this changes things... no way!!

Anyway, back to normal life in 2 days, damn I'll be glad to have Eef in my arms again, and my 2 lovely sons Alex and Michael. I bought the kids some nice presents, found some nice things for Eef, and for myself of course the henna tattoo, which is great and I really think about getting a permanent one just like this one, but I'll have to speak to Eef about it first cause she should of course like it aswell.

Being here, walking at the beach during the nights makes you realise what's really important in life...

I always knew I loved the 3 of them, but never really realised how much, until being away for 7 days, only hearing them a few minutes a day during telephone conversations. Does this mean I regret the trip?

Not at all!!!

This was the best choice I could have made after quiting my job, I needed some time away, to let some things go through my mind, and not fall into the well know dark hole, and the death of Peter 3 weeks ago made me realise again that we should live in the "now", use the experience from the past, look forward to explore the future, but enjoy life now, every day you live.

Suddenly, carpe diem seems normally to me. Strange after 14 years of hard working and to less enjoyment.

Tomorrow, we think about going into sea with a catamaran and some jetski's, could be real fun but I hope the weather will not be as today : being too hot to handle. It feels like 35 degrees in the sun.. when laying on the beach/at the pool, I start to understand how cokes feel when dropped into a barbeque that is been fired up :)

While writing this post (ServMe is in the shower) I'm looking outside on our terrace, a huge ferry just arrived, the size of a skyscraper, our hotel would fit into it like 50 times I guess. Damn, this post is getting to serious now, must be ServMe's influence :)

Anyway, time to have a siesta... I'm still a little ill, I keep coughing all day long. The medicine does not help, so I
need to go to a doctor when back in Belgica.

Ciao bella's !!!

Ibiza blog part 7

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Joco describes it as "loud banging", almost like an amplified heartbeat on steroids, while I'd use the words "light buzz". I guess cuba libre and wodka lemon have a different effect on the type of headache one has in the morning. I'll probably be rewriting the next paragraph a couple of times, so if you read it again and suddenly wonder if there wasn't anything else written before, you could be right. I won't be doing that to "protect the innocent", but to work toward a text that accurately describes my own view on it. Yes, there is a 50% possibility this will end up in a deep and meaningful post, but it could as well end up as a shallow bunch of filler. I'll find out as I shape it in writing and in my mind.

When we were sitting outside having drinks with a couple of other guests - a German couple and three Americans - we were having quite some fun. Joco went to play in a table tennis tournament organised by the animators in the hotel and thus met a lot of new people. I on the other hand opted to stay out in the sun and read a couple of more pages in my book. This in itself is quite a clear exemple of the difference between the two of us.

Later during the evening, as some people were following a dancing lesson inside, out walks one of the waitresses and we get to chat a bit, and Joco has a dance with her, all in jest and fun. A couple of minutes later he tells me that he thinks she might be looking for something else as well. I agree nor disagree simply because I haven't got a clue, but if he says so, I tend to believe him. He reads people well, I don't read them at all.

Fast forward a couple of hours and the evening is coming to an end - in the hotel that is at least - and the same waitress walks over to the table again, cleaning things up. We start talking again and learn that her name is Petra. I check when she's getting off from work and it turns out she'll be off in 30 minutes or so and whether we'd like to join her in a local bar - Amnesia, the one we were at earlier, remember? - but Joco refuses and I'm quite torn about it. On the one hand I wouldn't mind hitting the bar with her, she's fun and outgoing and speaks practically perfect English, but at the same time I feel it's just not my thing. I'm not a social guy, really. Anyway, after mulling it over for a couple of minutes - Joco is getting a bit irritated by now that I'm not jumping on the opportunity - I get up and head to the hotel room for a shower and a change of clothes.

By the time I get back, Joco tells me that she's off to take a shower too, and to meet her at the local bar. I head over there and meet some of the other hotel guests sitting accross the street in another pub. I walk up and down the street a couple of times, waiting for Petra to arrive, chatting with the guests in the other pub, and at the same time keeping an eye open for her. I finally get in to Amnesia, order a coupe of Cuba Libres and wait patiently. At the same time I'm wondering what the heck I'm doing. When the clock reads 01h45 or so I decide to call it a night and head back to the hotel. Petra never showed according to me. Got back in the room, hit the bed - I'm not only a bit wasted, but also a bit pissed off to be honest - and fall asleep.

On friday morning - I should say "around noon" we get out of bed and head off to the hotel bar. Ten minutes later, who shows up? Petra. As she walks by us, I check with here as to where she was last night? The answer is surprising, yet not really : "I was at the bar, where were you?" I was at the bar, too - no, we couldn't have missed each other as there was maybe 5 people in there tops - and left around 01h45. Her reply "Oh I get there around 02h00" sounds honest to Joco, but I have my doubts. She leaves us to go do some other work and then heads back to the table, stands behind Joco and rubs his shoulders. All the pieces are now falling into place for me. She never came out to meet me in the bar. She wasn't interested in me either, but in him, lol. Good luck trying to seduce him, I doubt it'll work ;-)

Funny how things go, ain't it? The one time I actually go out and give it a shot, I get the door slammed into my face, hard. Do I blame Joco? I certainly don't - though I'll play with him a bit regarding what happened coz I know he sort of feels bad about it, lol - nor do I blame her. The only one that was the stupid fool here is me. Now if Joco reads this he'll tell me I didn't do something foolish and that I was damn right to take the shot, but while knowing that he's right about it, it doesn't feel that way.

Evolution is all about adapting to situations. However, if you stay in the cornfield and don't stick your head out, you're perfectly fine, and if you finally gather enough courage to take a peek, you may get your head chopped off. If for every successful peek you take, you have to get your head chopped off several times, I wonder whether it is all worth it? Some will say it definitely is, but I tend to disagree. As I said before : you can't change the nature of the beast.

I'm a "not so social geeky type of guy" that actually feels quite fine alone. I surely need some interaction and companionship, but I think I can get by with very little. The possibly most surprising part is that the confidence I lack in my private social life, I have in abundancy in my professional life. Go figure.

Now that I'm thinking it all over, that duality really shows in my blog posts as well. I often post about technical topics, give advice and point out where things are going wrong, but all of those are non threathening to me : they are well defined facts, conclusions and ideas. I hardly post anything about who I am - because I don't know who I am myself. Which is a very scary feeling sometimes...

Lol, look where a simply night out in Ibiza gone wrong lead to. I'm spilling heart and soul, and I think I won't be editing the post after all. It's fine as it is and apart from maybe a tiny edit replacing one word for another to better explain things, this seems fitting.

Ibiza blog part 6

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I just finished shaving - apparently, my beard ain't in holiday mode - and am now ready for another day in Ibiza. Last night I had trouble once again falling asleep, but after a nice shower I drifted off rather quickly. Could it be that all the sun cream blocks my pores and that it makes me at edge when trying to fall asleep? Not sure, but the shower really helped me getting rid of the remainders and I slept quite well.

As some of you may have noticed already, we managed to get some updates out the door last night - they were posted yesterday, but obviously date from earlier this week - but the fun didn't last too long. After both being online for about 15 to 20 minutes, complaining how the internet access was damn slow, we may have overloaded the one backbone the island relies on. Pages weren't loading anymore, all connections timed out and when Joco went off to an internet cafe to try there, it turned out all of them were having similar issues. So much for reliable and stable connections to the world wide web :-)

Ibiza blog Part 5

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Quite a few new faces in the restaurant today, so a new load of tourists arrived I guess. Most of them are Thomas's though - we decided to use code to quickly relay to oneanother what language people speak, so we don't freely comment on people not realising they actually understand us. "Thomas" is code for German, "Pascale" is code for English and "Botten" is code for Italian. I don't think we ran into French people just yet. We don't have code for Dutch or Spanish as in case of Dutch we assume they speak multiple languages - as we both do - and we while we don't understand a bit of Spanish ourselves, it is pretty safe to assume they don't understand Dutch either. The hottie traveling with mom I mentioned earlier, turns out to be a Thomas according to Joco's intel by the way. Scheisse - I understand a bit of German, but speak none and don't feel any connection to the language either, making any attempt to conversate with anyone in German laughable at best and foolish for sure.

English and even French pose much less of a challenge to be honest. While the language of Moliere is not something I use often outside my place of work, I have little to no fear using it being well aware that my sentences are far from perfect, but I can get my point across without too much problems. I even use (very basic) Spanish to interact with Hotel staff if I can, because I know they appreciate the effort, and even a bad attempt goes a long way. Besides, ordering a Wodka Lemon and a Cuba Libre ain't all that hard, no matter what language you use, lol!

Oh, before I forget : While taking a stroll through the streets surrounding the hotel, we were propped by a gorgeous girl with long blond hair, a smile to die for and eyes to drown in. She was wearing a white snug fitted top, a mini miniskirt and long white leather boots that really showed off her long legs. If she had been selling apartments in Ibiza, I probably would have bought one. Being well aware that she was a propper, I decided to play along and we followed her to a pub a couple of meters down a small street. We ended up
paying 15 euro for 4 cocktails - it was buy one, get one free, so we actually only ordered 2 - that contained little to no actual alcohol if you ask me. Joco felt the same way about it, though he was paying more attention to the waitress that sported an "I love blue jeans" top - which was green - then the actual contents of his glass. Allow me to correct that : I think he was paying more attention to the contents of the t-shirt and blue jeans. No matter how nice the wrapping is, it's the content that counts, ain't it?

While laying at the pool today, I realized something important about myself and my life in general : you can't change your nature.

Update 17:45 :

Joco just popped in again, proudly showing off his arm. Wait, allow me to correct that : his now tattooed arm. I should have know that the sun and the heat would leave some sort of trace on at least one of us, grin. It's a henna tattoo though, to see whether he likes the placement, design and feeling of a tattoo. Maybe I should have started off by writing that it was a temporary one, instead of wondering whether anyone fainted while reading this entry.

Ibiza blog Part 4

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14-05-2008 13:39

Ended up going to bed early last night because we both were pretty tired. It's bizarre how spending a full day on the beach laying in the sun and reading a book and looking at women can wear you out. Joco wasn't feeling too well - still coughing a lot, but it seems to be improving - so decided to call it a day around eleven PM I think. Then spent a couple more hours having fun with one playing a song on the ipod and the other one naming title and performing artist. In fact us playing the game could come in handy as the animation team of the hotel is organizing a music quizz around 21h30 today, lol.

After going through over 1100 songs - skipped some though - we both turned to fall asleep but failed miserably. Ended up having long talks and didn't fall asleep till 3 after chasing some very persistent mosquitos away.

I didn't wake till eleven this morning and had a slight headache - which I still have now - and it ain't from drinking too much I suppose, though I had a fair share of wodka lemons throughout the day. Skipped breakfast as they had stopped serving it by the time we arrived. Joco proposed to rent a scooter to go explore the island, but it didn't really float my boat, so We decided to part ways and meet at the hippiemarket, but I never made it there. After standing around for 20 minutes waiting for a bus to arrive I called it quits and took a long stroll along the beach instead, all the way over to the town of Ibiza, which is about 3 kilometers give or take a bit.

Off to have dinner now and I think I'll head back off to the pool, even though it's quite windy and cloudy today. It's still dry, and even with the overcast skies, the temperature is very nice. Most bikinis are swapped for a top though it seems, but I'm sure that's only a temporary set back.

Ibiza blog Part 3

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Back in the hotel room right now, getting out of the sun for a while. Joco is already showing some signs of sunburn, so we're trying to avoid too much damage that could spoil the rest of our holiday here.

Ibiza blog Part 2

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I was woken up this morning by sudden harsh beams of light penetrating my eyelids. Apparently, Joco had opened the curtains just a bit to let some light in and it woke me up. Funny thing is that he had been awake for 30 minutes at least, went right passed my bed, took a long shower and none of it disturbed by sleep of the dead. After just 7 or so hours of sleep, I feel mighty fine. Went off to get breakfast in the hotel - no milk to go on the cereal to be found anywhere, but the fresh orange juice was to die for - and then headed off to the beach where we laid claim to two chairs and plunged down on them to relax in the sun.

The weather is quite nice today, a few scarce clouds in the sky and a hot hot sun. I've covered myself in suntan solution factor 30 and after about 30 or 45 minutes out, I put my shirt back on. I still recall the day I was - not even seriously - sunburnt and almost ripped someones head off at night for not even being able to stand the soft touch of a sheet on my skin. Yeah, the sun and I have a suberbly balanced relationship : If she doesn't mess with me, I leave her alone too.

As soon as I'm done writing down this post, I'll be calling back home to let everyone know how we're doing and then it's off for some food. Don't know yet what the afternoon will bring, but around 19h00 there's some sort of an information session by one of the jetair hostesses. If it's Melissa who's hosting, I'll definitely attend ;-)

Spotted one particulary nice woman in the hotel yesterday as well, and we definitely exchanged looks, several times. Looks like she's traveling with her mom, so we'll see where that leads.

Ibiza blog Part 1

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It's about 23h35 and in the past 32 hours I haven't slept, waited on an airfield for almost three hours for a delayed flight - we left around three instead of 11h45. Anyway, right now we're in Ibiza, tired as hell and after a couple of drinks it's time to hit the bed. We explored the beach, the immediate surroundings of the hotel and had dinner.

Unfortunately, communications are extemely limited as there seems to be no wifi connection I can "borrow" and the one communication tool we planned on relying on - my mobile phone - was not where we both expected it to be : in my bag. It either was removed during shipping - which I doubt - or I totally forgot about it while leaving in a hurry this morning. Anyway, to make a short story even shorter, Joco called Eef and the kids to let them know we arrived fine.

More to be posted in case I manage to find a connection somewhere here, otherwise it'll all have to wait till we're back. Oh, and when it comes to hunting down bikinis, I scored the first point when I spotted one while having dinner in the hotel restaurant looking out over the beach. Some of the girls - or should I say I say women - are pretty hot and who knows what may happen during the next few days.

Off to a well earned shower and rest now, more fun in the sun tomorrow. Oh, "more" is maybe not really the correct word, as we arrived in a drizzle and had overcast during most of the early evening, but then things cleared up quickly. More overcast and possibly a storm to be expected tomorrow - I of course didn't pack a sweater or jacket - but the forecast for the days after tomorrow is much better.

Fun with spam

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As I was quickly skipping over a ton of spam messages - I know I'll be flooded by the time I get back - one caught my eye : "Mariah Carey wants to have your kids".

I know better then to actually open or click around spam mails, but if the topic were true : "where and when baby?" That is assuming she hints at the actual act of making babies, not trying to steal kids (I don't have).

Lol, writing blog posts at six in the morning is always a bit of a challenge and I'm probably too tired to make much sense. But still, if Mariah asked, I wouldn't mind trying a couple of times; grin.

Yikes!

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Editing templates in the middle of the night may not be such a good idea after all. When I got out of bed, I noticed part of my sidebar navigation had disappeared. When I checked the template itself, sure enough, it had been cut off somewhere, which instantly explained the lacking data in the output.

However, I didn't back up the template before I started messing around in it last night - it's only a very small change - so I had to start looking for a backup I had made before. I found one dating from 2007 I believe and was able to recreate most of the template it seems. I'm quite convinced it will not properly validate now, and that some info will be missing, but all of that will have to wait a week or more.

It would be best if I just recoded the custom template from scratch, or used a plain standard one, but neither option really appeals to me. I don't think this mishap is the end of this blog though, but who knows?

More options on the blog.

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Since I've got to stay awake for quite a couple of more hours - starting night shift tomorrow evening - I've spent some time adding a couple of social sites to the blog. Well, not exactly the sites themselves, but rather links to submit FK content to them easily, so you can use them to their full capacity, also with this blog. If you are missing your favorite, let me know and I may consider adding it after I get back from a week of partying in Ibiza. Mind you, leave it in a comment, I can't guarantee that the neurons I used to store your request in will still be present when I return, grin.

Click Crime by Mark Rasch. Interesting article that might give us all a peek at what's heading our way. In case you don't feel like reading through it - damn you, lazy bastard :D - let me attempt to make it easy for you by giving a non technical example :

You get or find a leaflet that states : "car with keys in ignition can be found at <location>". If you actually go there, you are arrested for grand theft auto (not referring to the GTA4 game, lol), even though you only claim to have been there to take a peek, nothing else. Call it curiosity, call it stupidity, who knows? Maybe your intention was to actually drive off with the car. Now transpose that to the invitation to clicking an internet link that promises to lead to illegal content, and actually clicking it.

If you've even seen the movie "Minority Report" you may see where I think this is heading, and if you go a little further back, think "1984" by George Orwell.

While the article quite correctly states "as few in society are willing to be seen as coddling or protecting child pornographers", you must always remember that if you don't speak up when they take away the rights of someone else, who will speak up when they knock on your door?

I'm not defending pedophiles or condoning child abuse. However, in order to have freedom, you'll also see - to some extend - abuse of that freedom. Which would you value most : freedom and some abuse, or no freedom at all and hence no abuse. I value my freedom very highly and will gladly accept that some will abuse it. The day they take away my freedom (physical, mental, perception of it, whatever) is the day I head for my final check out.

Preparing for takeoff

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I've just gotten home from the store - went food shopping - and along the way got a haircut. Not that we have drive-by-hairdressers over here, but there happens to be one on the way to the store, lol. Anyway, I usually do my own hair as it comes down to taking the trimmer and shaving most of it off, but around the ears and the back of the neck is always a bit of a struggle. So I decided to give it a shot and for the €11 that it cost me, I'm quite pleased with the result. Nicely trimmed, clean neck, everything I needed.

In a couple of minutes I'll be heading off to the kitchen to prepare food to take to work. I'll have to boil eggs, fry a chicken breast, cut tomatoes and radish, then throw it all in a large container and mix and cool it. I've got cheese, a salad mixture and various nuts to go with it, along with some mackerel. Seems like a perfectly balanced fresh meal to me.

Yesterday I went store hopping for a pair of swim shorts, and a couple of T-shirts and I've come to the conclusion that "stores only carry sizes for tiny/small/skinny people". I'm not fat, I'm just big boned.

Off to cook I go!

Updates are available

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Service Pack 3 for Windows XP has been (re-)released, after it was pulled last week due to some incompatibility. Download it from the usual MS update site at http://update.microsoft.com. I've installed it on one of my machines already and have found no problems so far.

While you're doing updates, consider replacing your AVG Free 7.5 with the new 8.01 version as well. Download from http://free.grisoft.com/. I could point you directly to the download link for the free version, but have decided against it. After all, the free version is only available because some people buy the full version, so it would hurt everyone in the long run if I skipped all the links to the full version, understand?

Anyway, that's it for now. I'm off to get some things taken care off before I leave for 4 more days of work and then get into a large bird in the sky that's gonna take me to Ibiza.

Note to self : do NOT use the vacuum cleaner to clean a keyboard (while in use). It results in digging in the dustbin for missing keys!

Midday update : All XP machines patched to SP3, one Ubuntu installation salvaged and upgraded to Hardy Heron (8.04) and one missing "K" key retrieved and reattached to keyboard, lol. Left to do : shopping, and encrypting the complete windows partition on a laptop.

Afternoon update : Ubuntu has been removed, the partitions merged and the complete disk is currently being encrypted using AES. The initial test was good, so I've decided to go for full disk encryption. Lets hope I don't forget my pass phrase now :)

Funny

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You just can't please some, can you? Don't ask questions you don't want an answer too :)

Woman: If I died, would you marry again?
Man: Definitely not!
Woman: Why not? Don't you like being married?
Man: Of course I do.
Woman: Then why wouldn't you get married again?
Man: Okay, I'll get married again.
Woman: Would you? (Looking all sad and disappointed)
Man: (sighs)
Woman: Would you sleep with her in our bed?
Man: Where else would we sleep?
Woman: Would you change all my pictures for hers?
Man: That would seem like the normal thing to do, yes.
Woman: Would she use my golf clubs?
Man: No, she's left handed.
Woman: - - - silence - - -
Man: Shit

Iron Man

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I'm gonna make some time to go watch Iron Man on big screen. Not because I am a fan of comic books, or movies based on comic books, but because the trailer looks promising and the Iron Man track from Black Sabbath is used in the movie. Yeah, I know, I go watch a movie because it uses a certain song - a song I've got at home and to which I could listen any time I want, go figure.

Anyway, I hope the use of the Iron Man song will introduce some youngsters to the full oeuvre of Black Sabbath, as it's definitely been an influence tons of other groups. I remember being introduced to the group by my dad - not so much as him saying : "this is cool, listen to it" because we all know how that would pan out when said to a teenager - but rather going through his record collection and hearing him play those tracks back in the days. I was hooked immediately, and own a couple of Sabbath CD's myself now.

That being said, I got an introduction to various musical styles from my parents, as they both owned a broad range of records. I recall listening to Johnny Otis, Gene Vincent and Louis Prima (all on Rock 'n Roll Club), The Beatles, James Last and many others. There was Kleinkunst, Jazz, Metal, Pop, you name it and they had it. To this day, I'm still grateful for growing up in a family that had an open mind and broad view on the world - and it's exactly as I would raise my kids if I ever have some.

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