Unbelievable

Note to self: Don’t pay off the car loan on a full moon, or near it. :p

(Don’t worry, it – and I – am OK, just annoyed at what happened today.)

–TSK

PS – And yes, the 2010 weblog posts are a *bit* thin nowadays. Thinking about how to fix that; Maybe focus more on EvE-centered activities for awhile…

Accutane News Item

I’ve stumbled onto an short news item regarding the acne medicine Accutane. Quote is from Myway’s news section, as an AP newswire (http://apnews.myway.com/article/20100217/D9DTLS5O3.html).

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) – A New Jersey jury has hit the pharmaceutical company that makes Accutane with a $25.16 million judgment in a lawsuit filed by an Alabama man who blamed the drug for his inflammatory bowel disorder.

Thirty-eight-year-old Andrew McCarrell of Moody, Ala., took the acne drug in his 20s. He says Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. failed to adequately warn of its side effects. McCarrell eventually had his colon removed.

The compensatory damages award came Tuesday in a retrial. An appeals court overturned a $2.6 million judgment he won in May 2007.

Hoffmann-La Roche stopped selling the drug in June 2009. It cited generic competition and the cost of defending against lawsuits, which have sought to blame the drug for suicidal behavior and birth defects.

The Nutley, N.J.-based company says it will appeal.

What I find most interesting is that they finally stopped selling it, and that it took so long to get to this point. I’ve taken Accutane three times over the years, with varying degrees of success. But like some patients, it affected me mentally and I had refused taking it since then. It also only took about 5 or so years after taking it for some of my acne to come back to previous levels, though not as much on the face as it used to in the past.

I’m actually having better success these days with colloidal silver (ingested and topical) as well as tea tree oil (topical), though both are painfully slow. At least they’re natural, and the tea tree oil does have pleasing scent to it. Still need to be careful with them though.

–TSK

Great Backup Quote

Ran across a great quote regarding backups, in the book ‘Python for Unix and Linux System Administration:’

. . . when you are dealing with backups, treat them like nuclear weapons, as backups are fraught with danger in ways you might not even imagine.

That’s pretty much sums up my last ten years at work. :)

–TSK

Revival 2010

I’m a bit miffed at how long ago my last post was. It’s not my intent at all to let it wither. Of course, it was also not my intent to fervently ignore it either. :p

Anyway, the ‘general update’ is that I’m realizing certain things (that were a regular part of my life, outside of work) have not been as fun as they used to be. So I’m preparing to drop them. This includes my presence in SL (this was done awhile ago), plus some *much* older activities that have been slowly withering away anyway.

I’m also looking at trimming my Eve time for a little bit, since both characters have an opportunity for going into ‘hibernation’ (long training queue) for a couple weeks.

Hoping that this will give me time back for more recent endeavors, as well as this site. :) We will see.

–TSK

(Almost) September Update

Well, if I’m not going to post as often as I normally did (due to work and other obligations), then I’ll at least try to update once a month. ;)

Anyway…

Mysterium – The return trip from Spokane was uneventful, though delayed a day due to the illness. There was a three hour layover in the Seattle airport and used that time to catch up on work (once I found someplace that gave me *wired* access for the VPN connection – yay!). As one of the ‘staff’ I’ve been involved in post-con discussion, though nothing major (from my end) that needs worrying about just yet.

Hoboken – Hot, humid, and recently raining again due to the remnants of hurricane season. *sigh* Things at least began to get cooler a couple days ago, and I’m enjoying what walking time I can get in.

There was also that little thing about the plane/heli crash on the Hudson corridor a couple weeks ago. One of the piers here was pressed into service by the NTSB for the following week, which was interesting – until I saw the mobile coroner’s office on-site. Gah.

Eve Online – My character is currently waiting 4 weeks, while two skills for a special mining ship get trained. In the interim, I decided to make lemonade out of lemons, use the (semi-useless) time card from the Atari box (called a GTC) and convert it into in-game currency for purchasing said ship. :) I’ve also been following the EBank crisis; Thankfully I was too new to have done anything with them, but its been very interesting – as someone who works for the Financial Sector – to watch a virtual bank attempt to struggle out of a crisis similar to the one RL banks are facing today.

During this interim, Steam has given me an opportunity to do a little ‘side experiment’ which is turning out pretty well. More on that later.

—–

That’s about it for now. Busy, as usual. :)

–TSK

Stuck in Spokane? [Updated]

This is somewhat ironic.

I’m stuck in my room @ Spokane, due to a really bad flu passing around the group. It’s not affected me, so far, other than having a light cold [and now a little light-headed, slight fever, etc].

Of course, I’ve not eaten since the meeting at Cyan yesterday, but that was part of my normal pre-flight when traveling someplace for the first time. Apparently was a good move.

At least in my case I could make additional changes this week as events merit. Changing the flight by one day, though, was a *bit* expensive, relative to the original e-tickets (was close to the cost of a new one-way flight).

The irony is that I – along with several others – are as if we’re trapped in Myst ourselves. At least I’m trying to enjoy it while I can.

Oh Thank God I took the rest of this week off at work…

–TSK

Corruption? What Corruption?

Short shout-out for Dad, MystBlogs, etc.

I find it slightly amusing that I’m a Hoboken resident, and apparently have been living under a rock until sometime Friday morning (when a co-worker mentioned the corruption roundup).

Perhaps New Jersey now has a chance of having a Republican governor again (though I was rather unhappy about Whitman, for various reasons).

News aggregation link regarding Mayor Cammarano, via Yahoo (possible popup et al warning):
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news?p=Cammarano&ei=UTF-8

–TSK

On the Eve of Eternity…

When an old friend tells me “I know your playing style, you’ll like this game,” the alarm bells kick off immediately (I have no interest in repeating the Travian debacle back in ’07). In this case, however, its because he was right and I’m wondering how I may integrate this into my life. Anyway, onto a game review…

First, the general summary:

Game: Eve Online
Owner: CCP (Iceland)
Type: MMO (subscription), Space-based, Player-driven, ‘Sandbox’ model
User content: Partial (story interaction & PvE/PvP, no actual new items generated)
Advancement: Skill learning /w RL timings, tied to equipment use
Currency/Economy: Yes (ISK), tied to RL currency indirectly, RL Market system (commodity-based)
Month-to-month Cost: US$15 per month in US, costs are in Euros everywhere else; Standard multi-month discounts. Can now buy time extentions on the Market with ISK.

I am currently under the 21-day trial invite that my friend sent me. Within the 3.5 days of playing so far I’ve accrued a net worth of about 2.2 Mil ISK (their currency), which long-term is small but has included a lot of equipment that could be usable for the long-term as well.

The current equipment list includes five low-end ships, one of which I’m eager to fly (cargo carrier – useful for mining) but one required skill can’t be learned by Trial accounts. Since the ship in question was given out as end rewards for (essentially) tutorial mission arcs, I find this maddening but understand all too well why they did it. After all, a good MMO should give enticements to stay; Eve has decided to do this by handing you very nice carrots, but no way to ‘eat’ them without a proper subscription. That’s a refreshing change (and one that’s working *sigh*).

I need to add/stress that in some respects, I’m still doing the Tutorial. The initial ‘bootstrapping’ took about four hours; Anyone with a WoW or SL/There background can probably get to a pause-point within two, and continue on at a leisurely pace afterward. There are *many* aspects of this game that are like the classic board game Othello – “Simple to learn, Lifetime to master.” Therefore you probably need to plan out reasonably quickly what you’d like to do here, and thankfully the starting mission groups do a reasonable job of ‘getting your feet wet’ on all the major job types. I completed two of the mission trees – Industrial and Business – with flying colors, but the Combat tree is making me wonder if I’m interested in completing it…

Their economy is, in a word, insane. Its effectively a full-blown (perhaps fully implemented!) Commodities market, down to Gantt charts and detailed tickers. It frightens me more than the combat does, but I suppose working in the Financial Sector for 14 years has left a few scars in that department. Very recently, a direct tie to RL currencies occurred, through the creation and selling of subscription extensions within their Market. With this action, in theory you can now legally buy and sell ISK for RL currencies (though there is no facility to ‘cash out’ – the benefit given when selling ISK is free game time). This makes it the second multi-user environment I know of that does this – Second Life was the first – and I’ll be watching to see how this new twist pans out. It will be very interesting to see what the going rates (in ISK) of a monthly time extension turns out to be.

Anyway, enough rambling for one post. Anyone on MystBlogs (or perhaps from SL-related feeds) who are looking for me there can look up the name ‘Alain Kinsella.’

/salute
–TSK

Notebook Annoyances

One of the major problems I have with travel (at least out of NJ) is the need for decent connectivity to work.

Now, I would not worry as much, since – usually – I could bring a couple small items with me and just borrow someone else’s PC (preferably one with a large enough monitor, so the RDP to work will not freak out). This is what I did during last year’s trip to my father’s house, and it made the flight *so* much easier to deal with.

This time, however, its a bit different. First, its a personal preference of mine to only borrow a system from either very-long-time friends or from family, since in those cases I’m not overly worried about what they may see while I’m logged in. Second, the VPN is now checking if an anti-virus scanner is up and running on the connecting system (and only allows XP or 2K right now). And, I’ve pledged to bring at least one notebook to Mysterium in order to help with various projects on-site.

So, this is why I’m currently undergoing the hell again of a re-install of XP on the old HP notebook (2 hours and counting!). It was running Linux quite nicely (and even had Windows 7 32-bit on it for a few days), but those happy experiments were due to losing my original media. Obviously, I’ve corrected that (the replacement from HP came in yesterday), and the first part of a dual-boot with Win7 is underway.

Of course, that’s not stopping me from re-examining how I setup the hardware. The old 7200 RPM disk from the Sager got dropped in before this rebuild, and there are 2 x 1 gig memory sticks en-route. Still a ton cheaper to do that, then to price out a replacement notebook; So far, about 15% of the quote I got from Lenovo (and that was *after* a 40% ‘shared’ EPP discount). So far I expect the only caveat to be less battery life, but it was already near the 4-hour mark so making that a bit less is *not* an issue…

Hopefully the new setup will be finished by Saturday (just did reboot #5 under XP-Update *sigh*). Crossing fingers…

–TSK

Mysterium

As one of the group helping with Mysterium this year (and this is possibly my only chance to visit Spokane in awhile), I’m finishing plans to go. As things stand so far – and despite that I’m traveling from US/Eastern/NJ – it’s been pleasantly cheaper than my insane two-week jaunt last year.

Flight – $420 (EWR to GEG)
Hotel – $320 (4 nights, applied a discount code to Travelocity which nuked the fees and taxes)

May still add a car to that (since my flight out is 5 AM on Monday!), I’ve got time to consider that at least. :)

But comparing to last year, I spent nearly $700 on a round-trip to Branson, MO (I stayed at my father’s house). Plus the hellish cost of parking at EWR for five days ($90 I think). So I still think I’m doing well over last year.

My only gripe so far is the flight; Newark to Spokane requires flying to Seattle first, which I consider a waste. After all, the same model plane is being used for the leg from Seattle to Spokane; If it were a small ‘hopper’ jet like the ones used at Branson, I’d understand, but why not direct? *sigh* Ah well, can’t have everything.

Anyway, so far, so good…

/salute
–TSK