Minor Updates

  • At work, we use monitoring systems to alert us to problems with the system, so that we can react to them quickly.  We take the monitoring systems quite seriously.  Today, on one of my personal servers, I discovered that a service had crashed, and I hadn’t noticed for fifteen hours.  It was quite a shock to think about something going down without my notice for so long.  I have been wanting (for years) to learn and build out a monitoring system for my personal systems, but I haven’t gotten around to it.  I assumed it would be Nagios.  However, we’ve started to use Sensu at work, and I am supposed to be learning it, so maybe I will start with that.
  • I have a lot of other technologies to learn.  And I mean a lot.  I have actually been very stagnant with computer technology for the last several years.  Until recently, such things didn’t matter to my position on an operations team.  However, two things have changed: our team taking on more responsibilities and becoming more of a DevOps team, and I am exploring the possibility of doing freelance work for extra income.  So that’s several technologies at work for which I need to gain expertise, and several current technologies that have become popular fields for freelance work.  I have a stack of new computer books to read.
  • A sign of a good thriller is that it hooks you from the beginning and you can’t put it down.  It is rare that I read a whole book in a single sitting, but I did that last night with James Grady’s Six Days of the Condor.
  • Velocity is a new company that makes a pretty good drop-in trigger for the AR-15.  Not only is it pretty good, but it is very competitively priced.  I just installed one in my R-15, and I took it to the range over the weekend.  There is no detectable creep, and it was pleasant to shoot.  It’s not as nice as the Geissele trigger in my other AR-15, but this one is a single-stage trigger.  I can no longer blame the trigger for accuracy problems.
  • I think I am going to move Dean Koontz off of my active authors list.  I just read Ashley Bell, and I found myself turned off by Koontz’s reliance on one-dimensional bad guys who embody pure evil and who also happen to have limitless resources and be well organized and well connected.  Midway through, there is a plot twist that somewhat justifies this, but by then my distaste was already well seated, and the new situation left the story feeling disjointed and poorly planned.  I was already feeling annoyed with Koontz’s unrealistic characters by the time I finished his Odd Thomas series, and this sort of clinched it.  I guess I’m not really a fan of supernatural thrillers.  I stumbled backwards into his work by reading Sole Survivor, which had me until the end expecting a rational, scientific explanation.  Dean Koontz is a master of suspense, which for me is an important component of storytelling.  However, I think I will prioritize my future reading time for other things.
  • I think I am sold on “dispersed” camping.  This is the term that applies to camping in the middle of nowhere, which you can do in most National Forest and National Grassland property.  No table, no fire ring, no grill, no electricity … nothing.  Just back from a camping road trip in which I camped in two developed campsites and three dispersed campsites, I much prefer the latter.  You can have total privacy and quiet.  And it’s free!  The main disadvantage is that there is no bathroom or shower, so you have to deal with those things yourself.
  • Back in 2005, George W. Bush signed into law his energy plan that wasn’t an energy plan.  As an oil crony, the idea of actually reducing America’s dependence on oil was anathema to Bush and those to whom he was beholden.  However, a President has to have an energy plan, so he pushed through this ridiculous Act.  Basically, his plan called for banning incandescent light bulbs and screwing with daylight savings time.  The latter probably cost more in IT salaries to implement than it will ever save.  However, more than a decade later, I am much more satisfied about the light bulb thing than I was at the beginning.  CFL technology is junk.  However, LED technology has fairly well matured and become rather affordable.  Almost all of my lighting is LED, and it is pleasant, reliable, and energy efficient.
  • These days, I live in a county that does not regulate the sale or use of fireworks.  Neighbors are already setting off fireworks a week before the 4th of July.  On the 4th, it will look and sound like a war zone, a thick smoke filling the air.  However, I now live in the pretentious part of the county.  A couple years ago, I lived in a place where fireworks go off all summer, with the 4th being merely the crescendo in the middle.
  • I actually called my father on Father’s Day.  He and I have relaxed into a very casual attitude about remembering dates: birthdays and Father’s Day.  A.D.D. is hereditary, and we both have it.  We’ve both missed each others’ birthdays often enough that we no longer take even the slightest offense when the other misses ours.  Actually remembering on the day is remarkable by itself, and this year I remembered to call on Father’s Day.