(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

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

MA to NJ, and Mysterium After Action Report

Yeah, I’m a week late in posting this, but still not quite back into work due to being away nearly 2 weeks…

So, the drive back to NJ was about 4.5 hours this time. Again, I was tired (Sunday night I was up later than expected, even if I didn’t actually eat anything at The Melting Pot). Left around 5:30 for an arrival time around 10:30 (I actually stopped by my desk at work around 10:00 to say hi and let folks know I was actually back). If I try that kind of driving again, I’m going to change the leaving time so that I hit the approach to NY around 10:00 instead of 08:00 so that I don’t need to invoke detours on the Nav…

Myterium itself was cool, if a bit unstructured. Friday was more-or-less that way out of necessity, since folks tend to wander in during the day. Signups occurred then, mostly for Tomb once that was announced. And I ended up missing Robert’s presentation since I did not know where it was being held (got to at least meet him though, however brief that was).

Saturday morning/afternoon was dominated by the various field trips, which again was dominated by Tomb but other things were going on. I just stayed at the hotel for the day, and had a late lunch at the mall next door. The evening’s marker hunt looked interesting, but I did not participate since I’m not into geocaching (which it was related to). The ‘What would Atrus do?’ segment though was absolutely hilarious, and would be interested in trying that next time…

Sunday. That morning was the memorial vid for Wolfie. Before that, I had tried multiple times to write something in his book, but could not work myself up to do it. I eventually did, early Sunday when no one was in yet, but had to practice the wording somewhat earlier in the morning. The video itself was extremely moving – no clue how Eleri got through making it, but thank you. I wanted to say something but I was too choked up, and disappeared to my room for an hour or so afterward to get myself back in one piece.

The rest of Sunday was finishing various things up – like the Heek games – and Closing. I’m used to actual conventions where they have these ‘set in stone’ setups laid out and you sign for events (which you then arrive at the time specified!). This was more of a free-for-all, mega meet-and-greet, which I had no issues with (That was essentially explained as much during Closing, which devolved more into a Debriefing). :) I’m tracking down a few things in order to followup on suggestions that were discussed.

/salute, and Thank y’all for having me,
–TSK

Travel Update 2 – MO to MA

So, the flight home from MO to NJ was delayed a bit from Memphis last Thurs, but otherwise was a nice enough trip. And I had some ironically amusing fun with the Newark Airport long-term lots (since it was the first time I left the car there). But the week was fun, things worked out, and that’s what matters.

As for Boston, I left Hoboken by car at 8 AM Fri morning and arrived at the hotel a bit after 2 PM. The actual travel time (per the car) was supposed to be under 4 hours, but I needed to stop regularly to stay awake. ;) I learned a lot more about car travel in doing this, so it was definitely a good idea. I expect the trip home to be quicker, whenever that starts (sometime tonight I hope).

Mysterium has been great; It’s my first one and I’m now interested in going to more as my life permits. Wolfie’s memorial video/music/etc just finished playing a little while ago, so need some time before saying anything more about this weekend (twas a bit more touching than I had expected – very well done). Probably tonight…

/salute
–TSK

Mysterium Travel Woes – Driving Trip

Well, I’m having a slight problem, as mentioned on UO. The hotel is not actually in Boston directly, but Burlington (which is a suburb outside the normal local subway, aka the T). It is slightly available via a bus (350/351) which could be possible but that only takes me to Burlington Mall and from there I need to find a way to cross Rt 93.

I am now considering a suggestion from my father – drive from NJ. At first that sounded a but nuts to me, since I’m not certain how much sleep I’m going to get prior to the drive (my flight lands home at 11 PM on Thursday!). But I suppose if I get some extra sleep Thu morning and a quick nap before the drive, I may be able to depart around 5 AM and be there in time for Friday Reg. I’m staying until ‘Monday’ anyway, so I can leave around 00:30 (during my ‘normal’ work hours) for a nice drive home.

As a side note, the only reason I’m actually considering this is the fact that I have Nav in my car. That allows me to punch in the destination and go without worries…

Anyway, I’m effectively setting this as the plan now, so anyone interested in how a Prius works can take a look over the weekend. :)

/salute
–TSK

Popping my Head Up

I had no intent of not writing a RSS-able entry in the past two months; In fact I’ve been tweaking away at the site now and then, its just not in areas that will be noticed much by sites like MystBlogs. :p

Anyway, the obligatory ‘what’s been going on since April’ post:

-> The Slug (NSLU2-Debian), he be toast again (shortly after my last post, ironically). I’m fed up with the rather convoluted way that I have to connect to it, so I’m looking at just getting the smallest entry-PC you can get (about $200 at MicroCenter) and dump Debian on it. Maybe dual-boot it with OpenSolaris. :)

-> New video card: nVidia 8800 GT from Palit. Despite the iffy reviews that came out of NewEgg, its looking good so far. Only problem now is that I no longer have any inhibitions to add mods for Oblivion…

-> Continuing the overclock: I’m up to 3.0 Ghz on the Q6600 (that’s 375×8) and stable; Rolling back the HSF to the stock one helped with that, as well as replacement exhaust fans on the case. I will update the PC page at some point, but in most respects now my system specs match Craig’s.

-> Back on SL, heavily: After two months in There, of all things a golf tourney in SL gets me involved again. I’m fiddling with sailing a bit more too, and exploring why the durn Viewers like to crash so much (I think that’s been mostly solved as of yesterday – more testing to do).

-> planning for vacation and Mysterium: I had planned to goto Boston for Mysterium before I heard about Wolfie’s death. Now I will definitely be there, perhaps trying to make a ‘boffer safe’ Riven dagger as a demo (need materials from James – perhaps while at DexCon – or visit an appropriate store). Making a sheath for this could get complicated…

-> My health: Don’t worry, good news here. :) I’ve been experimenting with something called ‘colloidal silver’ (which, according to the FDA, I’m not allowed to explain what it does – I’m NOT kidding!). Things are progressing well, and I may bring samples of the stuff as well as the generator I use to make it.

-> Blue Belt: Last and definitely not least, I earned my Blue Belt at Tiger’s (around late April). This was despite the sore wrist going into the testing period, but I just dealt with it and endured. I really should start getting pics for this…

*Reviews the above* Ya know, even if the new MO were available today, I still don’t think I could join atm. It’s just too busy in my life. We’ll see once the servers are up again.

/salute
–TSK