Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The Blogocycle and Jamie's Hierarchy of Fortunes

What is it about blogs that make them so cyclical? Are there any psychological phenomenon that explain it?

I am a passionate person, and when something catches my interest I am a great evangelist. Blogs almost fit my normal pattern of interest - Learn -> Research -> Do -> Decline -> Ignore. The only thing is that I do come back after the "Ignore" phase eventually. Odd... Irrelevant trivia: my first blog post ever was on June 12th, 2003.

More irrelevant trivia: I am the official creator of the hierarchy of fortunes (of the cookie variety). Let me explain:

Tier 1 - Information
This tier lies at the base of the pyramid of fortune cookies. It is by far the most common type of fortune and particularly irritating to me.
As you can see, the information tier contains fortunes that tell you things... but nothing that you really need to know. If you need to know information about virtually anything, I would suggest a well-formed Google or Wikipedia search as a good starting point, and then a visit to the local library's reference desk for more information. Another theme in this category is to give you information about your personality or other attributes. In any case, I question the credibility and value of any source that contains high fructose corn syrup.

Tier 2 - Advice
Wondering how to live your life? Fortunes are happy to tell you in this tier. The middle tier is only slightly less prevalent than tier 1, meaning that advice fortunes are also relatively common in the grand scheme of things.
Thanks cookie! Now I don't need to buy that self-help book!

Tier 3 - Prediction
I don't know about you, but this is the type of fortune I most closely associate with the cookie. Ironic, then, that this tier is the rarest of all types of fortunes! Getting a tier 3 fortune is worthy of celebration, and if you are playing my drinking game you must take at least 5 shots if you get one of these.
Hope this guide has helped you identify that fortune. I was going to mock it up in Visio but I'm a lazy bastard. Fortunes courtesy of

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Shameful plug

Can I just take a moment to recommend the Google Pack? This handy tool
is something I use every time I setup a new PC. It has versions of
common software you need to browse the net (like Adobe reader andFirefox), and some optional goodies like Skype, RealPlayer and Google Earth. If all it did was install those, I wouldn't make a big deal but the awesome part is that it has an unintrusive updater that takes care of keeping those programs up to date. If you are like me, the RealPlayer and Adobe updaters are your nemesis. Google Pack takes the pain away.

Full disclosure: I may get a small pittance if you click a Google Pack link on this page.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Current status

I am hungry, thirsty, tired, and I have to go to the bathroom. If this is the Sims, I will die very soon (probably after some despot builds walls around the pool).

I am so busy at work that posting here is completely irresponsible (but I need the time off). Here's the scoop. I have a slightly different job under a somewhat different management structure. That's about all the detail I have right now. EXCEPT that I have to do a bunch of crap for my old job first and then I already have a queue of stuff waiting at my new job. AND they gave me this project to make a video, which was pretty fun (if very time consuming) and then all this criticism about how I need to change this and that, so those changes are in process. I feel beaten up.

Here's my computer lesson of the day: VMRUN.EXE cannot be run from inside a guest with 100% reliability. I'm using vmrun revertToSnapshot to have the guest revert it's own snapshot. Apparently this is not a supported use case. I am going to need to bug my contacts at VMware (which, surprisingly is rather a lot, I did well at networking over there) to find out how to submit this as an enhancement request. Meanwhiles, I had to build a very rudimentary client/server architecture to have the guests send in a revert "request" to a controller that stays online.

You know, this use case seems to have escaped VMware fairly completely since I can name several operations where it would be handy for the guest to have a little more sense. I know that some people are using VMware in situations where guest knowledge of the virtualized environment is considered a vulnerability, but for software QA, this is far from the case. If my guests could get some information about the hosts, it would simplify what I do quite a bit. For instance, if there was some way to query the VM Tools about, say, the name or path of the guest, then I could write some generalized code to snapshot and revert the guests with minimal user configuration. As things stand now, it feels like a total hack the way I have to do this stuff. ANYWAY...

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