Archive for June, 2006

Oh George

Our President – Leader of the free world …

 “It was not always a given that the United States and America would have a close relationship …”


It’s going to rain (or so they say)

Photo taken by NASA.  From left to right:

Commander Steven Lindsey
Mission Specialist Lisa Nowak
Mission Specialist Michael Fossum
Pilot Mark Kelly
Mission Specialist Stephanie Wilson
Mission Specialist Piers Sellers
Mission Specialist Thomas Reiter

There is a 60% chance that weather may prevent a launch this Saturday.  Unfortunately, the weather predictions are equally unforgiving at the 24 and 48 hour delayed launch windows.  NASA TV will show the countdown status briefing at 9 am (CST) Thursday.  NASA TV will show the launch readiness news conference at 3 pm (CST Thursday.


Lotus Notes 6 – Ntaskldr.exe

Now I know we are in the minority these days – running Notes / Domino in a world dominated by Outlook / Exchange.  And this isn’t a post to argue the particular upsides and downsides of each solution.  No – this is a plea (if not a cry) for help from IBM.  Sadly, I am not the first to vent this particular frustration.

With the release of Notes 6.x, IBM introduced the ntaskldr.exe to replace a whole handful of other processes that previously ran independently.  It handles all sorts of things – including mail replication.  But here is the problem.  This crummy little executable has a nasty habit of consuming almost all CPU resources from time to time.  A variety of solutions have been posed over the past several years, but there has been no magic bullet.  The two leading theories are:

1.  Execute “ncompact database_name.nsf -D”

2.  Delete your local database replicas and any associated full text indexes.

Now I tried option one this evening on my local database.  The starting size was 606 MB, and the compacted size was 398MB.  Only time will tell if this did anything at all.  Option two however is not realistic.  Removing the local replica means you can not access your mail offline (which is a huge benefit of Notes).  Now if you think I am making all this up, just read the following post on IBM’s website.  Their solution to this problem is listed as, “No plans to fix in this codestream.”  Yeah – I think that message has come across loud and clear.  Here is a quote from another post that sums this up even better …

“I don’t want to mess with deleting files or figure out how to ncompact *anything* … I want “them” to step up to the obvious problem and fix the bugger. I agree an earlier previous poster who pointed out that this is a case of poor programming and not caring about the user. It’s intolerable. It certainly seems to me like an infinite read/write loop of some kind. It’s not so much CPU use as I/O Read/Write use (disk use). My solution for now is task manager, right click, end process …”

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What did you do today?

Today was toe surgery day for me.  After battling with my left big toe since last September, today was the culmination of events.  I am now resting comfortably at home on the couch with my foot propped up above my heart.  So with nothing else to do – I decided to post to the blog.  Photos to come later (nothing all that ugly).

The following describes exactly what I had done today.  This language is taken directly from my podiatrist’s website (plug).

“Treatment for ingrown toenails is relatively painless. The injection to numb the toe may hurt some, but a skilled doctor has techniques to minimize this discomfort. Once the toe is numb, the nail margin is removed and the nail root in this area is destroyed. Most commonly, the doctor will use an acid to kill the root of the nail, but other techniques are also available. It may take a few weeks for the nail margin to completely heal …”

See a photo of my leg in a trash bag – yes the daily ritual for the last two weeks before taking a shower.  Adds a good 15 minutes to my “getting ready for work” time window.

See a photo of my toe after surgery.  This isn’t ugly, but there is a little blood on the bandage.  So don’t click through if you don’t want to see that.


“We are go for launch”

The following is a summary of comments made during the press conference that followed the flight readiness review board meeting.

Most of the discussion continued to focus on the ice frost ramps.  The safety office and chief engineers office both voted “no go for launch” because of their concerns about the ice frost ramps and the potential for foam loss.  Wayne Hale, Shuttle Program Director, said, “… at the end of the day, some people still had reservations and they expressed those reservations.”  Mike Griffin, NASA Administrator, further elaborated by saying, “I don’t agree with the way we have categorized that risk as being probable.  If it is going to be probable, then that means, over some reasonable span of flight, I would expect to see eveidence of that behavior [foam loss from the ice frost ramps].”

So what does this mean?  How can two members of the review team vote “no go” but still have an overall recommendation for launch?  The answer is that a decision to launch does not require a unanimous vote.  Mike Griffin, as the administrator, has the final say.  And in his own words, Dr. Griffin said, “We know we have a problem.  We are electing to take the risk.  We do not belive we are risking crew.”

Launch countdown starts on Wednesday, June 28th.


HP – Your blades are so sexy!

I usually am quite skeptical (if not down right critical) when talking about new hardware launches.  But this one is so cool, it is HOT!  Entering the stage – may I present the new HP blade server offering.  Just look at it.  16 servers in 10U of rack space.  And it has more than looks – it has brains too.

  • reduce datacenter facilities costs by up to 60%
  • reduce acquisition cost by up to 40% 
  • reduce set up time by more than 90%
  • the server to administrator ratio is 200 to 1
  • cut air-conditioning by 30%
  • cut energy consumption by up to 50%

HP Blade


Campisi’s and Guns

I took this photo at Campisi’s resstaurant in downtown Dallas the other night.  Now for those of you wo don’t know, the state of Texas has concealed carry laws.  The lawmakers put forth very specific language that has to be posted prominently.  Somehow I don’t think up high in a corner – on a wall that looks like newsprint – counts.

If you don’t live in Dallas, you may not know that Campisi’s has some ties to history.  On the night before the JFK assassination Jack Ruby, who shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald, dined at the original Campisi’s restaurant on Mockingbird Lane.  Additionally, urban rumor claims that the original Campisi family members were connected to the mafia, and for some time this was a “cash only” establishment.

Campisi's Restaurant Campisi's Restaurant


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Birthday Dinner

A special thank you to my friends for dinner last night – my belated birthday celebration. Your friendship and company is the most valuable gift of all. Together we were defeated by this memorable desert combination (our party of eight could not finish this) …


I used the cumulitive buying power of my various Fry’s gift certificates to purchase a Western Digital Passport portable external hard drive. It is already plugged up to my laptop, and I am downloading their encrypting backup software from the web.




STS-121 Update: 21 Days Until Launch

Launch for mission STS-121 is scheduled for July 1 at 3:49 p.m. EDT.  Live countdown coverage will begin about six hours prior to launch.  This will be the 18th mission to the International Space Station.  The Discovery crew is comprised of commander Steve Lindsey, pilot Mark Kelly, mission specialists Mike Fossum, Lisa Nowak, Stephanie Wilson, Piers Sellers, and Thomas Reiter. 

Next week the crew will be at KSC for the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test. This is a launch dress rehearsal that occurs prior to each shuttle mission.  Flight day 1 of this 14 day mission will include:

• Launch
• Payload Bay Door Opening
• Ku-Band Antenna Deployment
• Shuttle Robot Arm Power Up
• External Tank Handheld Video and Wing Leading Edge Sensor Data Downlink 


The problem with the UMPC

Microsoft, along with various hardware manufacturers, is trying to convince the public that the next “little” thing in PC’s is the ultra mobile.  Pictured below is the Sony product offering (coming in at $1800).  It is essentially a Windows XP Tablet that is geared toward multimedia, portability, and connectivity.  My complaint is that none of these products so far meets my qualifications for connectivity.  Sure they come with wireless A/B/G antennas, but what about when you are not near a hotspot?

Sony comes close to addressing my concern by incorporating wireless WAN connectivity to the Cingular EDGE network.  Unfortunately, I’m not a Cingular customer for mobile broadband.  I’m with Sprint.  So I need a PCMCIA slot for my Merlin card.  Trouble is – none of these devices offer that simple slot – one that has been around for more than a decade.  Think people – think.  Don’t incorporate one carrier’s technology.  Deploy an interface that will scale and grow over time as technology changes.  Show me a UMPC with a PCMCIA slot, and I will seriously consider buying one … maybe.


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