Snow in March

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My only complaint about the past twenty-four hours is the fact that we had to spend about eight of those hours without power, making the house a trifle chilly first thing this morning. But kudos to Duke Power for being fast on the repairs.

Sadly enough, this is the first decent snowfall we’ve seen since moving east almost four years ago. And at five inches, this really wasn’t all that major, despite all the media hype. I seem to remember a storm like this at least once a year when I was a kid, but to hear people discussing it on the news, you’d think it was the biggest snowstorm ever to hit North Carolina. Continue reading

Is It Just Me?

Or is this image really creepy and disturbing, if almost certainly unintentional?

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The poor kid looks like the Grand Exalted Cyclops or the Kleagle or something. I’m just sort of surprised this never occurred to anyone at Aldi. It jumped right out at me and the hubby, and we’re not really the easily offended sort.

A Saturday Afternoon in Winston-Salem

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It’s one of those peculiarly southern things: a week-old pile of snow in a shopping center parking lot with a sign in the background showing the temperature to be a fairly steamy eighty degrees.

In other news:

  • Richard Florida is still an ass.
  • Yer humble host has landed himself a very nice internship starting in May. If it’s a named internship, it looks better on a résumé, right?
  • Yes, I probably am way too old to be getting all excited about internships, but still…
  • Apparently, we live in one of the only houses in America that has increased over six percent in value since 2006, or at least so sayeth the tax assessor. And I thought it was a buyers’ market.

Anyway, since I promised you Winston-Salem in the title and really only delivered in the first paragraph, here’s an otherwise unrelated photo of what used to be our train station, surrounded by lots of dead kudzu:

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Weird Technical Issue

So here’s a question for all you networking types.

For the second time in two months or so, I am no longer able to access one of my client sites via HTTP. The connection to their webserver constantly times out. I can access it via FTP, and I’m not having trouble accessing any other sites. Plus, no one else seems to be having trouble accessing the site at all. The problem is not specific to my computer, but it does seem to be specific to my home network. I can access the site on my laptop from other places.

A traceroute shows that all traffic stops at one specific point (the IP address is 10.254.0.6, in case you care, which is apparently an IP address that isn’t supposed to show up in traceroutes). That was the case two months ago as well, but it was a different IP address that time (and not a weird one like this time). As a side note, there have been other odd problems with the company that hosts the site.

The first time it happened, about two months ago, it just seemed to rectify itself after about five or six days.

My questions are thus:

  1. Why am I the only one having trouble accessing this site?
  2. Why can I access it via FTP but not via HTTP, both of which involve the same IP address?
  3. Why has it now happened to me twice?

Note: I’m not listing the site in question because I don’t want to broadcast it here, and because it’s irrelevant to most of you (because like everyone else, you’ll have no trouble accessing it). But if any superheroes need it, I’ll send documentation including traceroutes.

Friday Morning

It’s off to Pittsburgh this afternoon to meet my hubby for a weekend of random yet targeted exploration.

As of about midnight last night, I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to make it. First, there was car trouble starting on Tuesday. That’s not yet resolved, so I’ll be taking Mark’s Oldsmobile rather than my Buick (yeah, we’re geezers…). Then, my Thursday resulted in a veritable flood of last minute work that made it seem almost as if there were a conspiracy to keep me in Winston-Salem and in front of my computer for about four days straight. But I got past it and had some lucky breaks this morning, so things are now looking good for an early afternoon departure.

Otherwise, it was a very good Thursday, which brought some potentially very good news, about which I shan’t elaborate at this time. Not only that, but they weren’t out of anything at the Elliott Center salad bar at lunch, which is a minor miracle. And I got to spend most of the day getting paid to look at old newspapers. So I shouldn’t complain. Not that that’s ever stopped me before…

Dramatic

Driving into San Francisco on the Bay Bridge is a beautiful thing, but entering Pittsburgh through the Fort Pitt Tunnel — where you shoot out of the tunnel and find yourself instantly on a bridge overlooking the city — has to be just about the most dramatic and amazing automobile approach to a city I’ve ever seen. It’s not something I ever get tired of

Yeah, I know a picture would help. Sorry.

OK, so…

I was being all coy Sunday and earlier today and no one seems to be biting, so I’ll spill it. The thing I did Sunday was make an offer on that cute little house. Said offer was accepted on Monday, which means that yer humble host and his husband are on the way to owning a second home — an urban vacation oasis, if you will — in one of my (our) favorite cities for a surprisingly low price.

I was hoping there might at least be a little speculation, what with the clues and everything. Oh well.

On the Chron

Interesting article in today’s New York Times about the special set of problems that are giving the San Francisco Chronicle even more trouble than most newspapers these days. The essence of the article is that San Francisco is a particularly tough market for newspapers because there is no real “center” there, which is largely true. The Bay Area is a very dispersed metropolitan region encompassing San Jose, Oakland, Contra Costa county, and a host of sub-regions, and (as much as San Franciscans might disagree) there is no central focus on any single city in the region.

That said, I think the article shortchanges the effect of technological advances that hit the Bay Area first and made it one of the most “wired” parts of the country early on; competition from internet sources rates brealy a paragraph. Similarly, there is no mention of the fact that the Chronicle was among the first newspapers to essentially give away all its content online — including its archives dating to 1996, which is something of a rarity even now. Mind you, that’s what has made me love the Cron’s website, and it’s why I link to it regularly when I need a “permanent” free link to a regional or national news item, but as a business model, it seeems really questionable to me.

As you might guess, I read this article in the print version of the Times, because I like my newspapers in that format. I keep looking for creative ideas from newspaper publishers that will enable me to continue doing so, but I’m not seeing very many. In fact, I’m mostly seeing changes that will only continue to alienate the “ink on paper” faithful, or those who, like me, can appreciate both models on various levels. My local paper, for example, has shrunk to the size of a pamphlet over the past few years, eliminating popular fetaures and sections and switching to a format that can best be described as “graphic design masquerading as journalism”. I’ve had a few significant delivery problems lately, with no follow-up from the circulation department.

And then there’s spiffy new “e-edition” of the paper — basically a PDF version that replicates the print version with a souped up reader that allows you to zoom in on articles — has recently been unveiled. Unfortunately, it comes at an added price, even for print subscribers. While I certainly agree that non-subscribers should probably be charged for this service, I think newspapers should be offering their print subscribers as many options as possible (or at least answering their emailed complaints) to keep them onboard.

I’m not sure what the best way out of this mess might be, and I’m starting to think most major newspaper publishers have even less of an idea than I do.