Saturday, February 19, 2005

Drinking and Testing
I spent most of the past few days studying for my next exam. My employer has asked that I become certified as a Novell Linux instructor. Being that they have been dropping the ax at the rate of once per week, it was an offer I couldn't afford to refuse! Besides ... when they finally fire me, I will have one more certification to my name, right?

So I have two immediate goals, one of which is complete. To obtain your Certified Novell Instructor status (for Linux courses) you must obtain either the: LPI, SuSE, or RedHat certification. You then send your proof of certificate-ship to Novell along with proof that you are a "real teacher". That base is covered. I have been a Certified Technical Trainer for many years now (now owned by CompTIA and called "CTT+"). I scanned that certificate and mailed it. So then it was onto one of the three Linux certs.

Since I had complete freedom in the Linux cert I chose, I went with the most vendor neutral; "Linux Professional Institute - Level 1". There are two exams one must pass to be LPI certified. After doing a couple of days of studying, I thought I was about ready. Plus, I needed to get a move on. They want me to teach a Novell class the week after next! I scheduled it for Friday afternoon.

Friday morning I came to work and got to studying as usual. Around noon I stood in the cafeteria and choked down my reheated lunch. And then ... I guess it was back to studying. With only a few hours left, I was starting to get that pre-exam anxious feeling which I hate. I really needed a beer. Then I saw some of my co-workers getting ready to leave for lunch. They were going to the Red Door Tavern. For those who don't know, the Red Door Tavern is a run-down, filthy, smelly old resteraunt up the road. The food is awful, the prices are outragous, and the service is downright disrespectful. Yet, they seem to turn quite a bit of business. I would never dare eat anything there, but I REALLY needed to get out.

So I followed the work gang off to the Red Door with one thing on my mind. A beer. Once we got there I could see that the selection on brew would be slim. This place actually had two bars (only one functional) and about five taps. Not wanting the usual beer I made a few requests. "Guiness?" Nope. "Becks Dark?" Nope. "Anything dark?". "Yes", the waitress replied, "We have Columbus Dark Nut Ale". Yum. Give me a big one!

Over the course of the next hour and 15 minutes that it took my cohorts to get their food, I slowly consumed 24 full ounces of dark stout ale. It was all of delicious. A full meal in itself.

After heading back to work, I began to see the err of my ways. My mind was filled with cob-webs. Had I consumed too much alcohol? Ah hell, of course not! 20 minutes before it was time to take the exam, I was beginning to get worried. I was ready for a nap. So I did what any beer-buzzed exam taker would do. I drank two consecutive mountain dews. But they could not compete with the dark ale which was consuming me.

As I stepped into the exam room, I was a bit worried. The test was said to be 65 questions, yet I learned it was more like 90. The extra questions were random "beta questions" which would go unscored. That's a lot of beta stuff. So I buckled down, and hammered through it. About 45 minutes in, I was all ready done, having answered all 90 questions. "Damn! That was simple!". I figured I aced it. Imagine my surprise when I exited the exam room to learn that I passed it by a hair. 500 points of 890 were required to pass, and I scored a 540. Whew! Close one!

The moral of the story: Friends don't let friends drink and test!

Oh shit! I'm about to be late to Best Buy. Bye! Miss me.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Earn a Free Mini Mac
i was shocked when the free iPod deal actually turned out to be legit. And I was still a little shocked when my free iPod arrived on my door step. Thank you all who signe dup under me and helped me achieve my five referral goal. If you have *not* yet signed up to recieve your free iPod, you should do so using this link. In doing so, you will be referred by (and fill one requirement of) one of the fine people who helped me get MY iPod.

And now, I can't resist signing up for a free Mini Mac. Knowing that the program works, I am buckling down for another set of referrals. It's a little tougher than getting a free iPod. You still have to complete one of several offers (cheap and easy). But you must refer TEN others to also complete one offer. It's not impossible, but I imagine it will take considerabely longer than it did to earn an iPod. I am thinking I could probably print up some photocopied shit and hang it around my local neighborhood. I bet I could pick up one or two referrals that way.

But if you are remotely interested in getting a free Mini Mac for yourself, please use me as your referral! You can sign up using the link below.

If you haven't yet, I would suggest signing up for the Blockbuster online deal. At $15 a month for 3 movies at a time (as many as you can watch and return) and two in-store rentals it's a damned good deal.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Ray Get's a New Old Dell!
Yes, thats right. I was offered a chance to turn in my Dell and trade it toward a 'different' Dell. So what I figured was that I was getting something much newer! It ended up being a slightly newer model, but without all the pimped out features. For example, my previous model was cranked up to 1GB of RAM, while the trade in only had 512MB. I switched the SO-DIMMS. My old model had an 80GB drive, and the trade in only had a 30GB. I switched the drives. The old model had a much better display, and built on ATI video. Okay ... I couldn't switch that.

So what did I gain exactly? It's a pound or two lighter. It still weighs in at 12 pounds or so (versus 14). It lacks a floppy drive (there's the two pounds). But now I have a DVD-ROM AND a CD burner. Working without a CD burner has really sucked! This will be a welcomed addition. The last notable perk was the 802.11G wireless card (integrated). I have never been permitted onto the business network because they only allow G cards on it. Not a problem you say? Well you can't run a land-line connection to the business network from the training areas (for security reasons). And I LIVE in the training areas. So now, I can actually get to the business network and get things done when I want to. Yay!

Oh, did I mention it's faster? Now my model (when plugged into the wall) get's up to 2.66 Ghz. A hair closer to 3Ghz than what I had before. While it has some things I could live without, I think I will get used to it. The keyboard is 'sub-standard'. It's got the delete key at the bottom, and buttons like "print screen" become function keys. They glidepad is HORRIBLY touchy. So in the middle of typing a document, if your thumb slips, you end up typing over things. Love that feature! Thanks Dell! But here's something nice ... the network cable plugs into the BACK. Yeah, you would think that's natural. But on my old Dell, it plugged in at the front around the side. It was awkward. Aside from the keyboard being mini, at least I can see the keys now. They are not rubbed off yet! Thank God for small favors I guess.

Right. So maybe I will Blog later when I have something more interesting to talk about than my new old Dell.

One more thing ... is anyone else creeped out by this image from Microsofts web page?

I mean, not that their web page is ever any 'good', but this shit is disturbing. It's one thing to give tips about protecting your kids. It's another to slap some wierd suggestive image on the public site that looks like "Chester the Molester". I'm sure the parents of that child are happy to know that their stock photography shoot was cropped up and used to insinuate child abuse. I bet if you saw the photo full frame, you would have a nice family eating ice cream and enjoying a park or something.

Microsoft: You people are fucking wierd.