Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Buzzwords

ARGH!!!

Since when is it wrong to experience a "problem"?

At a client site recently, the following email came past my desk (emphasis mine):

"_________, I've ran into an opportunity with the HRIS server. It needs SQL SP3a installed before the SQL reporting services. I'll work on it today after hours."

Opportunity?

How about "... had a little problem; I'll get it fixed right away"????

Sheesh! That's no way to run a Mission Critical system *puke*.

All The Best,

-- Don

Water Temperature for May 26, 2005

52.3 degrees.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Yet Another Birthday Gift Idea

Anything by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole. Incredible music indeed.

All The Best,

-- Don

More Music

Out of the Blue and Face The Music, both by Electric Light Orchestra, would make excellent birthday presents (hint to Ian and/or Erika).

All The Best,

-- Don

Gift Ideas For Don's 46th Birthday on May 27, 2005

A UtiliKilt, 34.5 waist and 22 (or so) length. www.utilikilts.com
(please note; my waist is 32, but the kilts are cut weird. Trust me on this one)
 
Any good cigars, including (but, of course, not limited to ...)
  1. La Aroma de Cuba
  2. Punch
  3. El Rey Del Mundo
  4. Camacho
  5. La Gloria Cubana Serie R
  6. Macanudo
  7. Cohiba
  8. Montecristo
  9. Don Lino Africa
Any music CD's by the Rolling Stones, except for Let It Bleed and Bridges To Babylon -- I already have those two.
 
12-gauge shotgun shells for Trap shooting.
 
Any size bottle of Buffalo Trace.
 
Any size bottle of Maker's Mark.
 
That's it for now.

Ocean City Water Temperature

I toyed with the idea of going surfing this weekend in celebration of my 46th birthday, but the weather is against me. It's going to rain -- which is fine for surfing -- but the water is only 52 degrees!
 
Yikes!
 
Guess I'll be shopping instead. Let's see ... cigars ... Rolling Stones music ... new shirt or two ... some new pants ... Happy Birthday To Me it will be!
 
All The Best,
 
-- Don

Great Web Site/Service

My dear friends at 37 Signals (Hey Jason!) have come up with yet another winning web site and service: BackPack.
 
BackPack allows you to store emails, documents, pictures, videos, music, notes, what-have-you (that is, "stuff"), in one place on the web. But it's beyond that.
 
You can set up reminders, which will email you and/or your cell phone.
You can share pages of "stuff" with other people.
The basic package is free.
 
I might write a Palm Pilot component for it.
 
It's really great; check it out.
 
Links:
Backpack: http://www.backpackit.com

All The Best,
 
-- Don

Credit Card Fraud Alert

CONSUMER FRAUD INFORMATION

Example of a recent fraud involving e-mail messages

There have been increasing e-mail and Internet-related fraudulent
schemes targeting financial institution customers. Pennsylvania State
Bank does not request confidential information by e-mail or the
Internet. If you receive what seems to be a legitimate e-mail message
or Web site requesting sensitive information, such as bank account
information, please notify us immediately.

Example of a recent fraud involving VISA Card

A first person account of an actual fraud: "Person calling says, "This
is ____, and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at
VISA. My Badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an
unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on
your VISA card which was issued by bank. Did you purchase an
Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a marketing company based
in Arizona?"

"When you say "No", the caller continues with, "Then we will be
issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been
watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just
under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your
next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address),
is that correct?"

"You say "yes". The caller continues... "I will be starting a Fraud
investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1-800
number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA)
and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control #" The
caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it
again?"

"Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works. The caller then
says, "he needs to verify you are in possession of your card". He'll
ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers. There are 7
numbers; the first 4 are your card number, the next 3
are the 'Security Numbers' that verify you are in possession of the
card. These are the numbers you use to make Internet purchases to
prove you have the card. Read me the 3 numbers". After you tell the
caller the 3 numbers, he'll say ,"That is correct. I just needed to
verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still
have your card. Do you have any other questions?"
After you say No, the caller then Thanks you and states, "Don't
hesitate to call back if you do", and hangs up."

"You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the
card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back
within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA
Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a
new purchase of $497.99 was charge on our card. "

"Long story made short, we made a real fraud report and closed the
VISA card, and they are reissuing us a new number. What the scammers
wants is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don't give it
to them. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or MasterCard direct. The
real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card as
they already know the information since they issued the card! If you
give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you're receiving
a credit. However, by the time you get your statement, you'll see
charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost too
late and/or harder to actually file
a fraud report. "

"What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call
from a "____of MasterCard" with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA
scam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police
report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several
of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know
that this scam is happening."

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Engine Update

I have the best Toyota dealer in the world. No ... the best car dealer in the world.

They're going to replace the engine in my Spyder under my extended warranty. I pay the $50 deductible, they pick up the rest ... even including a rental car for a week.

Diehl Toyota. I'll never go anywhere else.

All The Best,

-- Don

Friday, May 20, 2005

Blown Engine

I blew the engine in the Spyder.

Dealer wants $5,500 for a new short block.

Guess who's shopping for a used, cheap 1ZZ.

Sheesh ... it's always something.

-- Don

Sunday, May 08, 2005

BWI

Got up at 5:15 this morning -- a Sunday morning! -- to take my dear friend Kelly to the BWI Airport. Sheesh.

Hey Kelly ... can ya help a brother out and, perhaps next time, get an eleven o'clock flight?

:-)

All The Best,

-- Don

Shooting

Wow ... it's been three weeks since I posted anything on my blog. Forgive me, but I've been hugely busy ... in a very good way.

So we just got back from participating in our newest hobby ... shooting. Trap and Sporting Clays to be more precise. Tonight, we went trap shooting at the Isaac Walton League near Red Lion.

It was a blast.

And what was really great was that our son, Ian, came along.

I was anxious to try the Charles Daly Sporting O&U 12 gauge with the 30-inch barrel. Brought along the same gun in a 28-inch barrel for Patti.

My friend, Matt, and his father (Chet) were the hosts. They're both accomplished and talented shooters.

I was up first, and I don't mind admitting that I'm not especially good at shooting clay birds. I did okay after a shaking start.

Then Patti took some shots. She's pretty good, although it took her a while to get into her groove.

Then -- wouldn't you know it -- Ian stepped up and smoked 'em.

(I was so proud of him)

Matt and Chet shot too, but it was almost ho-hum for them.

One fun thing was, we had a second shooter for backup. If your two shots missed a bird, the backup would try to take it out. That made for some interesting shooting, especially when the bird's falling rapidly and is about six feet off the ground.

Had a great time. Tried both guns. When pulling the guns up (to shooting position), the 30-inch just feels better, but I think I did better with the 28. Not really sure yet, so, I guess I'll have to go out one more time before I decide which one I want.

Patti's getting a 28-inch barrel model.

Trap is fun, but Sporting Clays is even more fun.

But either way, it's a great time. And shooting with your son and wife, while enjoying a good cigar ... wow ... what a great evening.

All The Best,

-- Don