Archive for the ‘ Home ’ Category

XBMC = love!

I was reading some tech crap last week, and I came across this article about turning your old xbox into a media center. It reminded me that I had wanted to do this for some time, but never got around to it. I decided it would be a fun project, and it would be cool to have in time for the party, so I can stream mp3z from my server to my stereo. I didn’t really follow this guide, I just searched around for the things I wanted to do, and ended up with bits and pieces from everywhere.

Since the Action Replay is pretty much non-existent now, I opted to create my own USB adapter. To do this, I took a USB extender, and cut off the female end, then took an xbox controller and cut off the connector. I then stripped the cables on both, and twisted them together. My first attempt failed miserably, because I cut the controller cable too close to the adapter, so I didn’t have enough room to splice the wires together. So I had to go out and buy another used controller (I didn’t want to kill my other one). I also picked up a copy of Splinter Cell for like $1.50 (needed to “crash” the xbox). Then I took my trusty titanium cruzer USB stick and plugged it into my xbox.

Ghetto USB - XBOX Adapter

I decided to use the awesome Auto Installer Deluxe, to get everything setup on the xbox. Doing the softmod was stupid simple. Basically you grab a couple of “game saves” for Splinter Cell, and copy them to your xbox via the handy little USB adapter. Boot Splinter Cell up, and load one of the “saves”. Then you boot AID, and it has a nice graphical menu that walks you through installing what you want. I opted to use XBMC as my dashboard, cuz it’s just awesome. After a few minutes, I had a fully operational xbox media center.

I had no trouble connecting to my samba shares. So now I have mp3z, videos, and all kinds of other cool toys to play with, I even finally ordered another Harmony 880 to use in the living room (we’ve had one in our room for a couple years), since we have way too many remotes and devices. It makes me happy to put this thing to good use again, cuz it’s been collecting dust for over a year since I got my xbox 360.

Migrations, Painting, and other fun stuff!

It’s been a busy week. I spent most of last week working on getting setup for that big Debian customer. Not only do I have to get a deployment setup for their 40 servers, but I also had to get the Data Center ready for this customer. We previously had about 15 of our blade enclosures on a different network. So I had to recable, and reconfigure all of the switches before I can build any servers over there. Got that all done. Got a working Debian image setup, and even got NIC bonding working on it, in addition to getting some of our standard stuff configured.

In the evenings Weds, Thurs, & Fri, I pressure washed the fence to prep it for painting. We weren’t planning on painting it ourselves, but after I got some quotes, there was no way I was paying. So we went to the ho depot, bought 10 gallons of fence paint, and started painting on Saturday.

After the problems last week, I rescheduled the migration for Saturday night. This time it went a lot better. I ran into a mail problem, and spent 2 hours trying to figure it out. Then all of the sudden I look back at something I thought I checked, and realized permissions were wrong on a file. The first thing I looked at when the problem occurred! After that, it was just random little issues. I finally got to sleep at about 7:00am.

Sunday, I woke up around noon, and got back to the painting. Steph had some dog event in DC, so she didn’t get home until like 6:00, but she helped me finish up the section I was working on. It’s a very time consuming process, so we only got a little bit done this weekend. If anyone wants to help, there will be cold beer and paint for all this weekend!

Time flies when you work 10 – 12 hours a day

I seriously can’t believe it’s already mid September. I have been working a lot of crazy long days (more than usual) lately. It’s not that I’m required to do so, I just find myself still working at 6 or 7 PM most days. It’s a bug I have. I know that me working late doesn’t make the work go away, but for some reason I continue to do it.

Saturday, had coffee, did a little shopping, then came home and watched football on and off all day. Went out for chinese, then came home and forced myself to sit through the VT vs. LSU game. Sad, sad game. The only good that came of it was Glennon getting the boot, and Tryod getting to step in. There is hope VT fans!

On Sunday, we went out to Alexandria to see Tony & Dawn’s new house, then have dinner in Old Town at Austin Grill. Food was great, so was the company. We walked around Old Town a bit, and caught up. It’s been way too long since we’ve hung out. Definitely gonna try to make it a more regular thing.

Monday evening I decided to take off early (read: on time), went to Bungalow Billiards with Tony & Ivan for $1 Coronitas & pool. We had a good time, then came back to my place to watch the first half of the Monday Night Football game.

Still working on that stupid Debian build. After I got things working last week, I find out that now people want to have some input on how I deploy this. I’m like WTF? I asked the day that I heard about this deal, to get requirements. Not one fucking person spoke up with anything productive. 2 weeks later they want to talk about “standards”. So I have to start from scratch. On top of all this, I can’t even start builds until I get this massive re cabling project done in one of our Data Centers. I finally got the approval on the contracting quote, but of course the contractors are slammed this week. Might have to do a Saturday babysitting session. Once I get all the cabling done, I have to reconfigure & migrate 14 enclosure switches over to our other network. Fun stuff.

Friday night, is migration night for I’m really not looking forward to it, but I’m ready to get it out of the way. Especially since I’m paying for both of these servers right now, which really isn’t cheap.

First real post in 2 years

So what’s been happening in my life?

We bought a new house in Ashburn in March. We moved in a few months before that, but were waiting to sell our townhouse. The house is awesome! It’s on about a quarter of an acre, in a great neo-traditional neighborhood. We’ve done a ton to the house already, and it looks great!


Shortly after we moved here, India our Rotti girl lost it completely. After several attempts to reverse her behavior, we had to let her go. Shortly after, we began looking for a new puppy. We wanted to find a dog that would be completely submissive to China, as well as just being an all around awesome dog! So we picked this little guy from a breeder.

Benny The Golden

A little over a year ago, I quit my job at MITRE, and went to work for a “startup” called OpSource. I was hired as the Sr. Linux Engineer for Data Center Operations. These days, I end up doing more management, than engineering, but it’s still a good gig. I mostly work from home, or any other random place with wifi. I’m starting to work in InfoSec now on top of my normal workload, with the intentions of switching over full time as soon as they can afford to replace me.

I could ramble on about the past 2 years forever, but I think I’ll take it one post at a time for now. Commenting is now open, but you must register.

. . .

So ummm… yeah.

I don’t really know why I haven’t updated this thing in a while. I never have been good at it. Any how. Things have been going pretty good. I’ve been busy with work, side projects, and life in general. Steph and I just got back from a short trip to Vegas. It was a nice getaway, and we got to meet up with some friends there. Unfortunately 2 of our other friends who were supposed to meet us there had to cancel at the last minute. So I’m just gonna have to bug the shit outta them to come visit us here in VA 😉 I finally got a new cell phone with a camera, so I setup a moblog on textamerica. Not much there yet, and I need to customize it a bit, but it serves it’s purpose.

Wow, this got pretty long

10 months after I got my car, I finally got the body kit for it last week! I had just about written it off, and was going to just get the dealer to credit me the cost, and it magically appeared while I had my car in for normal scheduled maintenance. I am so through dealing with that dealership, and now thankfully I have nothing tying me to them. I wrote up a 3 page complaint about them, that I am sending to Infiniti consumer affairs. Hopefully they will break a foot off in some asses over there, so no one else has to go through the crap that I did. A new Infiniti dealer opened up in Chantilly, which is about 10 minutes from my house, so I’m gonna start bringing my car there.

I finally got my ass into the dentist a few months ago. I have undergone three 4 hour procedures to try to fix all the mess that was my teeth. I don’t have the total, but it’s been 2 root canals (in 2 teeth next to one another), gum surgery above those 2 teeth, somewhere between 10 – 15 fillings, and a deep cleaning of my gums and teeth. I still have temporary crowns on the 2 root canaled teeth that I have to get replaced with the permanent porcelain crowns in a couple weeks. And since dental insurance sucks ass, I have paid several thousand dollars out of pocket for this after the $1500/yr dental insurance limit. Next year, I’ll start work on the more cosmetic stuff, like trying to get my bottom row aligned, and some bridgework. The moral of the story kids… Don’t ever put off going to the dentist for nearly 15 years!

In other news, I’m in the process of switching my phone lines over to Vonage, to get away from Verizon. I pay entirely too much money for phone lines that hardly get used. I’ll be saving about $35/mo after all is said and done. In the process, I’m also gonna switch my alarm system over to a broadband monitoring service, which will save close to another $20/mo. I know it’s not as reliable as a phone line, but in the end, who’s to say either is gonna work when it needs to? We fool ourselves into believing that it’s actually going to help when/if the time comes, when in reality in most cases help is too late anyway. As far as I’m concerned, as long as the siren sounds, the alarm has done it’s job. Everything else, is just a bonus that may help a bad situation.

We’ve been doing some work around the house, trying to make things more our own. It’s funny that we’ve been there just about 5 years, and we had hardly done anything to the place. Granted, we picked out a lot of the stuff in the build process, but there were always a lot of things we wanted to change, like paint. So far we have only done the kitchen, but we are slowly working through the rooms one by one. We are both into a lot of asian/indian stuff, so that has been the theme. It’s amazing how much some color, or artwork can change the way you feel when you are in a room. I’m gonna try and get the yard landscaped in the next month or so, since it’s all dirt again. Feng Shui I say!

India, (our rotti/shar-pei mix) has been having some “issues” that we are trying to work out. We’re trying some herbal (magnesium) treatments to see if it helps, along with task of trying to rid the environment of whatever “triggers” we can. If the herbal treatments don’t help, we’ll have to try prozac. I am not a fan of psychiatric medication of any kind, but if it helps to balance things out in her brain, then I’m all for it.

I guess that about covers my life the past 6 months.

Current Weather – Temp: 10 °F / -12 °C Wind Chill: -11 °F / -24 °C

Yeah… so it’s pretty damn cold today!

Friday night, we had our holiday party, and it was a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone that showed up. It means a lot to Steph, and we hope you had a good time.

I finally picked up my car on Saturday morning. I’m still waiting for them to get my aero kit in stock, then I’ll bring it back in for the install of it, and XM. The car is sweet! More than worth the wait.

Check out mah grill

( ! )

So I found out late on Friday, that there was a mixup in HR as to when I was starting. Originally they were told the 29th, but on my offer letter I said the 26th. So they weren’t ready for me to start yet. I might start tomorrow or Weds, but maybe not till Thurs. Which is completely fine by me, as I have plenty of other shit to do to in the meantime. This weekend, I caught up on some sleep Saturday, but then completely lost it again Saturday night. I hopefully made up for it today, and will be on track for a “normal” schedule this week. I finished building all the new furniture with the exception of a shelf that I need to get more anchors for today. I also need to swap out Steph’s two shelves with the new one’s. There are still a ton of books on the floor in here, but they should be put away fairly soon. I have to move all of my shit from the old drawers into the new one’s, and that will pretty much be it. The new furniture looks awesome, and it really makes the room look bigger even though it takes up more real estate.

Yesterday I helped some friends move to their new apt. It went a lot quicker than we all expected, but I’m definitely a bit sore from going up and down 3 flights of stairs about 100 times. The cool thing is that they moved right around the corner from my new job, and Steph works around the corner as well, so hopefully we’l all get to hang out a lot more.

Today, I am going to pick up some shit from ho depot, and try to finish up in the office. Hope you all had a great weekend.

goonie goo goo!

I had a decent weekend. Did some admin stuff, both business and for stv. Did some yard work yesterday. And I found someone to take the ferrets! Unless something happens, she’s picking them up on Saturday. That’s about all I guess.

Oh yeah,.. I love you Steph!

worlock is: a monkeya monkey

Another Monday morning….
I had a decent weekend. I took Friday off because of the bullshit I had to put up with last weekend, getting called 50 million times. My dipshit bosses decided that I had to use my own time off for this since “I get paid for being on call – not on call pay and a day off” Whatever! If I had the patience to fight it I would, but it’s like talking to a brick wall, since my manager makes no decisions oin her own, and is afraid to speak up about things. So I took the day anyway, because I needed the time.

I spent Friday doing stuffs in the yard, since I finally have a patio, and grass again. It’s nice, I can’t wait till I can afford to buy some more stuff back there. Friday night I did some site work, and fixed a few scripts.

Saturday, I did some more stuff outside, and I don’t really remember what else. Yesterday since I was actually caught up on, I decided to try and finish up dollar25 radio. I got a lot done, but I have a bunch more to do still. I am trying to do a cd store, and it takes forever entering all the shit into my table. Once I actually get a good number of em done, then I’ll break it up into alphabetical pages, and it will be posted. Last night we went back to Columbia, to visit Steph’s dad, and have some dinner. It was nice getting to see him, we never seem to have the time to make the trip up, even though it’s only about an hour away. It’s actually really close to my work, but I’d hafta drive back down to VA to pick Steph up then come all the way back, which is why we never go during the week.

Anyhow, I must get back to work, because there’s a shitload of cases waiting from Friday (go figure).

I woke up at 9 today, oops! The landscaping people were out back using a power tamper in the pit they dug. I took off, and made it to work in about 35 minutes. I miss that commute. It’s so much less stressful, and I don’t get to work already pissed off at the world. Looks like a job lead I had is dead. The search continues.