Archive for February, 2009

February 22, 2009

Router Help!

Okay – am trying to use my main router (A Linksys WRT55A+G) for most traffic.

And a second one as a client – connected to my Xbox. That’s a WRT54G.

The idea is that I can take the second one, put it on a subnet, pipe the wireless signal to the LAN, and then just plug it in to the Xbox. Word on the street is that I’ll get better performance that way.

Here’s how the main router is set up:

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And I adjusted the advanced routing, too:

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Then I’m supposed to translate these settings in such a way that the 2nd router (the client). So far, this is what I have on the 2nd one, that is on a subnet (192.168.2.2) and then THAT router hands out DHCP addresses to the WAN port.

(Screen shots coming!)

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February 8, 2009

Striptease or Drop Your Keys?

My brother and I decided to make up a new running route today – when you’re going a long way – that’s one of the things you can do to keep motivated: make an educated guess about far a loop might be, and then go out and run it.

To that end – we met downtown at the Frankfurter (waterfront and Spring), and ran through the park towards Magnolia, and then crossed the Ballard Bridge to Nickerson so we could run along the Fremont canal.

Somewhere along the way, I had to stop and adjust my shoes. I busted my toe yesterday, and although it didn’t hurt so much today (stairs were hard yesterday) I wanted to make sure it wasn’t turning a new color or getting ready to fall off.

So we stopped, Frank stretched, I checked out my toes, and then off we went. About a mile later, just as we were nearing Ponti/Nickerson Saloon Area, a guy comes racing up on his bike, from behind us.

I was pretty sure he said something about asking us if we wanted a striptease, and I did a double take – we both had on long sleeve shirts and modest shorts – it’s February and cold, after all.

What he really said, though, was “I think you dropped your keys?” – and pulled my car keys out of his pocket and headed back the way he’d came.

A pedestrian coming the other way broke into an enormous smile – she saw the 15 second transaction and seemed as glad to have seen such a common courtesy (that doesn’t seem all that common sometimes) as we were to get the keys back – particularly since we were at mile 7, and I don’t know when I might have spotted that I wasn’t carrying them.

And here’s the other thing I noticed: The guy with my keys? He didn’t look like he was out for a ride. Street clothes and so on – so – my guess is that we sat down to stretch and he saw us, spotted the keys in the dirt (sharp eyes) and then went and got a bike and came after us. That’s pretty neat.

February 7, 2009

25 things About me

I spend a bit of time over on Facebook – I’ve been surprised by that tool in some ways – I’d initially (perhaps snobbily) thought it was just another iteration of Friendster or MySpace, and wasn’t so interested. But I decided to create an account to see what I could see.

What I like is that a quick glance every couple of days makes me feel like I know what my community is up to – and that’s pretty neat. Recently, Facebook users have been posting a list of 25 things about them for others to peruse. It struck me at first like a chain letter – until I read what one of my friends had written – and I thought I’d add my list of 25, too.

  1. I ran in the Bare Buns Fun Run, a 3k race near Tiger Mountain. There were approximately 200 runners, and while the race was “clothing optional” – most runners were naked, or were topless or bottomless. Not much jostling for position at the start line, but a lot of jostling, if you get what I mean. Tough to figure out what to do with the race tag: Fold it in half? Perhaps shape like a hot dog bun? I finished about top 10, and was chagrined to recognize they guy in front of me . . . Because of his pony tail. He was a local postman. Yes, there were a couple of spots that needed sun screen that didn’t get lubed up –because it didn’t seem, ah, appropriate to do that in public, and those aren’t spots that generally need sunscreen. Only a few people looked great – the rest of us – a tad too skinny, too fat, or just shaped funny. Best part was that they gave out a T-shirt to all of the finishers.
  1. I delivered the San Francisco Chronicle when I was a kid – with a family of 7 (5 kids) – that was about the only time you could ever be alone. Up at 3.30 or 4 to get the papers, fold them, get them loaded on the bike. I loved it. Back home to take a quick little cat nap before heading off to school. I didn’t make much money, but it set the stage for feeling adventurous, for learning how to handle money, and for learning bike handling skills. Oh – and I got to read the paper every day, too.
  1. I was tongue tied as a kid – needed to have a frenectomy to fix it. It didn’t matter so much at first, save for not being able to stick out my tongue or master the ‘r’ roll required for speaking Spanish. I had it snipped by my dentist when I noticed that dating was nigh. Whew! Saved by a pair of scissors!
  1. I had an American Express card when I was 21. Even though I was earning a paltry $14,000 a year working with high school kids – I’d frequently take them on camping and skiing trips. I once took 100 kids skiing – and paid for the hotel, 2 days of lift tickets, and meals on the card. Needless to say – I collected from each participant and paid off the Amex card. To this day, I have one of the highest credit scores around.
  1. I almost perished of an appendicitis attack. I was 19, working as a river guide for a summer camp, and it caught me on day 1 of a 4 day river trip. They had to cram an ambulance down a hiking trail to load me up and haul me out to the hospital for emergency surgery. One of my co-workers ran the trail to the pay phone to call for help – about a mile each way, past midnight. Lucky me for having a savvy and concerned co-worker.
  1. I’m incredibly annoyed by injustice – easier for me to be treated poorly than for me to watch or know about someone else being treated badly. I know that fair and equal aren’t always the same thing –but unequal application of justice gets me pretty revved up. Could be as simple as a driver cutting off a cyclist and then blaming the cyclist – or the other way around.
  1. I probably know more about catholic liturgical music and the application thereof than all but a few people on the planet (percentage-wise, that is). I started playing church music at Seattle University and didn’t stop for 25 years. I played almost every weekend, sometimes two or three times a weekend. Regular church services, weddings, funerals, holidays – you name it. Some of that music was written badly – but a lot was well composed and elegant.
  1. I’m a sap for great pop music and for musical theatre. I must have learned early about suspension of disbelief. I’ve been fortunate to have been in or played for shows such as Grease, Sound of Music, Man of La Mancha, Godspell, Quilters, Big River, Oklahoma!, a show about Rumi and more. And while I’m a practiced musician – that’s really my best talent. I’ll show up well practiced – even though I might not show up with a lot of innate musical skill
  1. I had a mullet. And a tail. And curly hair. Have you met my wife? My hair was that long and that curly.
  1. I backed my car into the flange of my rental house garage. Not once but twice. You know – the parts of the garage right where you pull in on either side that hold the track for the garage door? Yep. Twice. Blamed a buddy who was somewhere else in the house. Had to pull my car up against it, rev the engine, push the wall back into place, stucco and paint, and fix the garage door – but not until I’d played a wedding gig. Tough day – not so much because of the damage to the car and the garage – but because I couldn’t help but notice my natural desire to blame trouble on someone else.
  1. My maximum heart rate is 196. If I’m racing and see that – I also better be able to see the finish line. Otherwise I’m doomed for a stumble to the finish.
  1. I drank no alcohol for 10 years. I knew that I enjoyed a tasty beer or a gin and tonic, and didn’t want to end up being the guy that became a drunk. Now I’m in a single malt scotch club.
  1. I’ve never seen an episode of Friends, Seinfeld, or the Simpsons, although I did see the Simpsons movie.
  1. I spent part of a summer working as a cooper – we fixed wine barrels in the Napa Valley.
  1. I’m an information junkie, although you’d think that would make me more informed or really good at Trivial Pursuits, but alas – not so much. But I read the newspaper every day, and read the headlines, The Economist, and almost anything else I can get my hands on.
  1. I’m cold blooded, for real. My body temperature is typically about a degree lower than the oft quoted 98.6 (although new medical wisdom says 98.2 is about normal).
  1. My approach to management and leadership relies heavily on my Jesuit based education. That means that I depend on my team to ask hard questions, to tell me when they think I’ve made a mistake, and that most of my work should be removing obstacles to help them accomplish their goals. In short: It’s not about me.
  1. I roast my own coffee. Green beans, popcorn popper, electric burner, outside. Fresh, fast, delicious.
  1. I’d like to turn the music of Meatloaf into a stage show, and then be in the band.
  1. If I’m near the ocean, I almost always have to get in. Sometimes that means that I wear my birthday suit into the water.
  1. The only books I’ve read more than once are “A Prayer For Owen Meany” by John Irving, and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy (but I usually start with The Hobbit.
  1. Just once in my life, I used duct tape on a duct. It felt mildly surreal.
  1. I would like to run the Comrades Marathon one day. It’s a 56 mile run in South Africa.
  1. Getting a shake, burger and fries at Dick’s after a marathon is a great finish!
  1. Getting married was my favorite weekend ever. Staying married is outstandingly good, too.
February 2, 2009

Did You Create Anything Today?

Or – perhaps – the better question is:

Can you measure how you added value?

For the last, oh, twenty five years or so, I’ve worked in places where more wasn’t better – not by a long shot (at least when you talk about sheer volume).

My first job, working with young people was terrific, and while I slowly grew a program – more wasn’t always better. Turns out –that deeper relationships often trumps lots of less significant ones.

My second job was working with adults with developmental disabilities. We had two houses, then three – and – that was about enough. Sure – we could have added a fourth, and then a fifth –but a part of the charm and most of the quality came from long term relationships, minimizing turnover, and the slow and steady joy of being with people for a long time.

My third job was working for a theatre company – and while a few more tickets would have been great – the size of the theatre is just perfect: No mics needed (most of the time), every seat in the house a good one – the audience and actors right up next to each other. “Growth” in terms of ticket sales? Bring it on! Donations? That too! Huge theatre? Not so much. At some point – quality suffers when the only metric is quantity.

Currently, I help nonprofits with technology. Some growth would be okay – but really – I could do a lot of smaller projects, more quickly –but I don’t know that we’d have much impact. Our most successful projects are more in depth than that – and if I grow my team too quickly – I think I might also loose the culture that has made us successful.

I’ve become a reader of The Economist of late, and this weekend, I spotted this quote (taken in context of the financial mess, but written in 1984 by James Tobin):

I [suspect] we are throwing more and more of our resources, including the cream of our youth, into financial activities remote from the production of goods and services, into activities that generate high private rewards disproportionate to their social productivity. I suspect that the immense power of the computer is being harnessed to this ‘paper economy’, not to do the same transactions more economically but to balloon the quantity and variety of financial exchanges…I fear that, as Keynes saw even in his day, the advantages of the liquidity and negotiability of financial instruments come at the cost of facilitating nth-degree speculation which is short-sighted and inefficient.

And that set me to thinking. What did I create today, at work?

In my line of work – I don’t create much. I’m a step away from that – but my team does a lot – they do some pretty terrific things. Code that makes a website render, tools that allow for automatic donation processing, strategy that helps customers better identify their audiences, a whole mess of migrating data from sloppy to structured, and much, much more.

I measure my days more in terms of if I’ve removed obstacles or not to that work. Some days – I’m pretty successful – and others – not so much.

All told, though – my day to day work IS about creation – when we’ve completed a project there is something to show for it – and that makes me happy.