Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Stress Test

Today was a followup appointment regarding my ongoing chest pains. I was scheduled to have a stress test. Don't worry Eric, I decided against posting topless pictures of me all hooked up to the ECG machine.

As far as stress tests go, this one was kinda weird. There was no talk about release schedules, testing performance or pending overtime. They didn't even get me to call my wife and hurl insults, (that would be stressful) or talk politics. To make matters even worse, the doctor and assistants were even friendly and kept putting me at ease. How was I supposed to get stressed in this environment. Luckily, just thinking about that started to get me nervous. Oh yeah, the shaving - I had to have specific spots on my chest and abdomen shaved for the contacts. So now I have several bald spots in the middle of my chest. The nurse's response was 'hey, at least it's not beach season.' The treadmill helped a bit too, although they were very cautious and didn't really push my limits too far. I guess that's a good thing though.

The bottom line is that nothing dramatic happened during the test. I didn't suffer cardiac arrest and the only time some numbers on the ECG machine went into the red was when they were supposed to. My doctor will study the results and meet with me in a few weeks to go over what it all means. But I'll probably have that heart attack if I hear back before the new year.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Please make it stop!

Nov 25 2005
Please make it stop.
This morning I was looking at green grass, could clearly see the homeless tent villiage and even saw some sunshine make it's way through the cloud cover.

But now look at it! The snow is back, my tires are still bald (I'm going to head over to Canadian Tire after work to fix that) and everybody around me seems to actually LIKE the weather change. Especially the guy I told to work from home this afternoon, since he lives further away.

At least the frost isn't here yet, so I'm hoping it doesn't last long. It's really hard to maintain a sense of denial when winter slaps you in the face like this.
Me, staring in disbelief

Kevin snapped the second picture as I stopped to look out the window. The photo is much darker than reality (our office lighting isn't THAT bad, honest!) but I liked how it changed the mood of the photo. Like how I slipped in that Kevin took the photo? That was because he released it under the Creative Commons license. Technically, I had to ask him to modify it as well, since he did not expressly give me rights to do so until I 'had a little chat' with him. Technically, that's the legal way of handling situations like this.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Embarrassing Birthday Post

Ha ha, it's Kevin's birthday today, and he turns a whopping 32. For those who don't know, Kevin works for me (and he's pictured here) and I'm kinda hoping he's easily embarrassed.

Not that I'll have much trouble if he's not. Just look how uncomfortable he is in the photo.

Kevin's a quiet guy, so it's hard to dig up some good dirt on him. His blog doesn't provide many clues either. Just a bunch of photos he took with his fancy camera and stuff like that.

One thing that is undeniable about Kevin is that he's a gamer. That means he likes guns. That's pretty much a given for gamers, right? He's also into many aspects of Japanese culture and has visited there on at least one occasion. But then, that's pretty close to being a given for gamers in general as well, right?

Anyway, happy birthday Kevin. Hope you enjoy your prime rib and pacho fries tonight.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Complications with the non-uvula

Originally uploaded by iTripped.
You know, most days I don't miss my uvula at all. A little background: a couple years ago I had it removed in a (failed) attempt to stop snoring. I also suffered from sleep apnea and luckily, the procedure cured me of that instantly.

As I said, most days I don't notice a difference at all. But yesterday was miserable. One of the side effects of not having a uvula are an increased chance of food falling into your windpipe (it's supposed to help block the pipe when swallowing). Yesterday I must have choked about 4 times, from sipping coffee, chewing a breath mint, attempting to eat while climbing stairs and when paying for food at a restaurant. Drinking water does not usually help, since the problem tends to be in my windpipe and the general plan is to prevent food and drink from going in that direction. So I have to cough my guts out and hope for the best. This sometimes works. In the picture, the inflamed areas on the sides of my mouth are a direct result of my coughing fits.

It's not all bad. Now that I don't have the sleep apnea, I am able to fall into a deep sleep, instead of hovering in REM sleep all night. (Generally speaking, that's what happens to apnea sufferers, since the body doesn't dare fall into deep sleep in case it needs to force itself awake to start breathing again.) Now, no matter how relaxed I am at night, my air passages are not blocked. So it was still worth getting my uvula removed, even with the occasional coughing fit.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Another level of Hell froze over

...and this time it's a good thing. Apparently, Dell is finally about to start selling computers with AMD processors.

Could this be possible as a result of the lawsuit AMD filed against Intel? At the very least, it makes it much more difficult for poor Intel to punish Dell for straying from the fold.

Whatever the reason, I really don't care. I'm actually excited to see Dell offer an AMD product. I think AMD has an excellent product and it's about time Dell started moving on it. One thing is for sure, with this development we are going to find out real fast if AMD's past problems were because of Intel's marketing clout, or AMD's supply issues.

Friday, November 18, 2005

More fallout from Sony's bad karma

I will assume you didn't need me to tell you about Sony's decision to include a rootkit on about fifty-two of the CDs they released. Bad Sony, for selling music CDs that install the rootkit, then ask if you mind it installing additional files, and if you say no, not cleaning them off. Then someone had the nerve to write a virus that took advantage of it.

Then there were the licence violation accusations. It would seem that the rootkit took advantage of some open source software that is licensed under the GPL. Bad, bad Sony for not distributing the source files.

What with all the fuss over the rootkit, people started to take a closer look at what Sony was installing on people's computers. Turns out, in addition to a rootkit, Sony was also installing some spyware, courtesy of Media Max.

Looks like Sony just can't win. Now they have a USB scandal on their hands. Search the site, get a surprise. Of course, they have since updated their site, but el Reg is kind enough to show it's readers what they are missing.

It will be interesting to see what the effect of all of this is on Sony. I've heard from a lot of people that they are seriously considering a boycott of Sony products. At the very least, Sony burned up a lot of customer goodwill this holiday season. Not much more than that to say, I guess. The linked articles speak for themselves.

UPDATE: Here's a nice handy timeline of Sony's rootkit woes since things started to surface.

Kelowna gets all the good Mayoral candiates

For those who don't already know, we are in the midst of municipal elections. Kelowna is the city just south of us, and they are also in full campaign mode. One of the local TV stations has put video of each candidate introducing themselves and their platform on their website.

You all must watch the video for Andrew Uitvlugt.

It's a little convoluted, but here's how you get there: First, go to the home page for OKBC TV. From there, scroll to the bottom and click in the area that says "OKBC TV Exclusive. Click here to view video profile of the mayor and council candidates for the City of Kelowna." Andrew is the second name in the list. Click his name and watch the video.

Reader exercise: What's your favorite part of Andrew's speech?

UPDATE: I was so impressed with Andrew's file that I contacted the TV station and requested a copy. Here is my response:

Andrew has had lots of success with his videoprofile, I can only release his video if he gives you and me written autorization and a recovery cost of $50 to convert the video to DVD format.
Contact Andrew and ask him for his autorization first, secondly please send us a cheque for $50 to make a DVD for you.

Okay, I can completely understand the permission part, but $50 for a DVD? I must say I'm very tempted to put it on my Christmas gift list. Maybe if the DVD had bonus features, like more footage of Andrew, perhaps with a whiteboard to illustrate his ideas.

Oh, and for anyone who has trouble with the video, I did find a PDF that encapsulates his views. Unfortunately, it's a very sanitized version that doesn't capture the essence of the video profile. Also, here's an MP3 of a radio interview Andrew gave on Wednesday with 580 CFRA News Talk Radio.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tent Village forming

Tent Village
Originally uploaded by iTripped.
For the past few weeks, a gathering of homeless people have been busy building some shelter for winter. I get to see it all happen from my office window.

And yes, today it started to snow in Vernon. I'm not exactly thrilled about it.

But back to the tent village. The picture shown here probably doesn't give you much in the way of detail, but I figured it was a good enough balance between that and their privacy. It's the least I could do, since I'm here blogging about them on the internet, a forum to which they are almost certainly without access.

The police know of their existence, I have seen them over for at least one visit. I'm guessing that so long as they don't disturb anyone, the cops will leave 'em alone for the winter.

Did I mention that it started to snow today? And that I'm not pleased?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Flying Spaghetti Monster on Ebay

Yes, that's right - the Flying Spaghetti Monster (plush toy) is now up for sale on ebay. The seller has promised to donate the proceeds of the sale to the National Center for Science Education, and his employer has promised to match any donation up to $1000 US.

For those of you who don't already know, the Churchof the Flying Spaghetti Monster was formed in response to the decision of a certain school board in Kansas for insisting that Intelligent Design be taught in schools, alongside the theory of Evolution. The idea has certainly taken off in a big way, with the author of the original letter to the school board being given a hefty advance to write a book.

It's important to note that even the Pope has given support to the theory of evolution, distancing himself from Intelligent Design. It just goes to show that not all Christians are threatened by Darwin and his theory.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I must have cheated on the test

I took another one of those web surveys, this one to determine if you are a Nerd, Geek or Dork. Since I can't really link to my results, I'll paste them here (oh joy):

Modern, Cool Nerd

60 % Nerd, 52% Geek, 26% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!

Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in any of the following:

Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 51% on nerdiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 73% on geekosity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 38% on dork point

Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Monday, November 07, 2005

Looking back can help us go forward

Okay, first things first: everybody step back from the pomposity of the posts' title. I am in no way going to offer insight or guidance in today's shot from the hip. I just had trouble writing a title for today.

First up is a blogger who noticed his local car dealer was having a difficult time selling Hummers. I had a whole lot of crap written down about it, but decided it wasn't worth it. The blog post is funny because it's true. Even if I won the lottery, I would have no interest in buying a Hummer. I would really hate to be a car salesman for these guys. Tough times.

Next, we have an op-ed piece that talks about the riots in France. The thing that caught my eye here was that he suggests France abstained from the war on Iraq not because of deteriorating relationships with the US, or an interest in oil, but rather out of a position of weakness. France has a lot of Muslim immigrants, many from Africa and the Middle East. They fill the suburbs that surround French cities. Mark Steyn suggests they knew how explosive their domestic situation was and decided they couldn't risk an unpopular war. Interesting stuff, especially since the riots are slowly escalating and have already claimed their first casualty.

So after hitting you twice with the heavy side of what is going on in the world today, I figured it was time to numb your senses with something meaningless. It's a list of the top 100 Greatest Internet moments. Some are truly great, others I'd rather forget and others I never knew about. But I will say this: after exploring some of this list, I forgot all about Hummers or France.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I had an ECG test today

Yesterday I was experiencing chest pains that were bad enough to prompt me to call the doctor. I said the magic phrase 'Family History' and they decided to bump a few appointments to clear a spot for me that day, as opposed to scheduling for today. I gotta be more careful how I use that phrase.

While my doctor is good, I get the impression that she specializes in delivering babies and helping women through pregnancy. So I wasn't surprised that after taking my blood pressure and listening to my heart, she referred me to a cardiologist. Along with that, she arranged for me to have some blood work done, as well as an Electrocardiogram, or an ECG for short. It's the test that reports back the electrical activity going on in your heart, with output like what is pictured here. (No, that is not my test result. I shamelessly stole this one from the internet.)

In order to collect the test data, I needed to strip down to the waist, and also make sure my ankles were exposed. From there, leads were applied to each ankle, and to about 8 different places across my chest. It's not painful until the doctor starts removing the sticky tabs from your chest, and only then if you happen to lose a few hairs. The doctor's cold hands were a greater concern.

The other part of why I was at the medical clinic today was to collect blood. That meant I had to fast for at least 10 hours prior to arrival. I'm guessing that most people do like I did and show up first thing in the morning, since fasting through the day would really suck. I normally hate getting needles stuck in me, but this was okay. Better than my average trip to the dentist, at least. At least now they will have an idea of just how bad my cholesterol is.

Hopefully all of this will help the doctor determine what caused my discomfort yesterday, and ideally, what I can do to prevent it from happening again.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Trolling the net catches a mixed bag of things

A medley of topics for today, beginning with a statistical representation of datum collected about suicides off of the Golden Gate bridge. The obvious conclusion is that walkers kill themselves more than bikers, and people who drive never commit suicide on the bridge. Okay, maybe that's a bit of a stretch. It gets very foggy there at times. Would you rather jump on a clear day, or in the fog, when you would not see the rapidly approaching water? Morbid discussion perhaps, but it's been that kind of a day.

Next up is Repetitive Information Injury, which although is relevant and very real, is not so much of an injury as a complete waste of time. As in, that's the effect of the disorder. I'm not trying to say the article is a waste. Please, go read it. Now.

For those who want to do stuff on the web, but don't know where to look, I suggest this helpful site. It provides many links to free and popular tools people use to do all sorts of internet related activities. Not so much a discussion topic, I know. But in the theme of handy, here's a site that lets you make custom t-shirt designs and promises rapid turnaround.