Tuesday, November 8, 2011

FedEx Shipping.... The Ironic and Cool

The IRONIC Part - Now, I know the shipping business have routes designed a particular way for cost saving reasons. But, did you know the best way to ship wine from Windsor, CA to Richmond, CA is through Sacramento, CA and then to Richmond, CA via Benica, CA. Look on a map that is quite a detour.

The COOL Part - It is really hard to be home all the time to pick up packages. Especially packages that require a signatures. FedEx has a great program to be able to have the package to be delivered to another location like my local FedEx Office location. Then I can pick it up while that location is open late on my way home. Love this to pickup those signature required packages like my Hall Wines. Check it out at FedEx.com.

Monday, September 26, 2011

How to Save $272

Like many older cars my dashboard instruments lights on my 1999 Subaru Forester are going out. A couple of the lights have been out for years. When I noticed that I couldn't see my speedometer one night, I figured it was time to fix.

I called the dealer to figure out how much it would cost for service to fix. They quoted a price of $272 plus the cost of parts. Now, I knew that it would be expensive, but I really didn't think that it was going to be that high. After my recent expenditures on drain pipes (see previous entry), I really wanted to save a little money. And, I thought that $272 was a little high for changing lights blubs.

The Internet is your friend. I did a quick Google search and found out it was really no problem to replace the lights blubs yourself. 5 screws, 3 connections, and a little time you can do this for the cost of the parts. I called the dealer back to get a blubs I needed. They quoted me a kit for $37 dollars. More blubs than I needed, but hey that will be fine with me. I have some extras that I can replace too. Why get into the instrument cluster more than I have too? The parts were ordered. I picked them up a couple days later.

I estimated about 45 minutes for me to pull, change blubs and replace the instrument cluster back into the correct location. I followed instruction that I found here. It was easy. I would say that it took me 10 minutes to pull the part, a few minutes to replace the blubs, and then about 10 minutes to replace. So, I will say that it was only about a 30 minute job. It does take some patience to get the instrument cluster back into the location. I found going in at an angle helped as well as pulling the cable harness out a little to attach the connectors. Another recommendation would be to use the small shaft screwdriver vs. the standard shaft screwdriver. This helps for the 2 screws to remove the bezel and the top screw holding the instrument cluster in place.

So that was it. 30 minutes of my time and $37 parts kit I saved $272. I bet you could even call around and get parts cheaper at a Kragen Auto, Radio Shack or a similar place.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First Real Plumbing Problem

When does owning a home suck? When you have a drainage leak that you didn't know how long it had been happening. I assumed that it was just a rain water drainage problem. It was a wet year for us. But, after having a friend of a friend contractor take a look and a smell starting, I was told that I have more than just a rain water drainage problem. There was about 3 to 4 inches of grey water in the crawl space of our house. So that was the smell! It is time to get the water cleaned up, find the leak, repair the pipe and to do this quickly.

To clean up the water, soil, and the smell, I had placed a call to Emergency Services Restoration. They have been great so far. They do free estimates and if needed can start the process right away. After clean up and making it safe we found the leak on the old drainage pipe that services both the kitchen and the washer. Bummer.

Now it is time to repair that pipe. I have been using Olivero Plumbing Co. for a while and always have been happy with their work. They did not disappoint this time either. Looking at the pipe they found that there was about a 4 inch crack in the pipe. Bummer again. So, rather than just do a quick patch, I choose to replace the entire length of the pipe from the kitchen/washer drainage to the 4 inch junction. As he was removing the old pipe I was glad that I choose the replacement verse the patch. I don't want to have the pipe that looked ready to crack in many other areas to do so and I would have to call out the clean up crew again. Pay more now to save more later.

So, what did I learn? Check your pipes regularly. If have you have a smell it is too late.

Now, how to pay for all this work??? Well, need some computer work? I am your man. Check out my Linkedin profile. I will do top notch work at a great price.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Food For Thought - Jobs at WWDC '97

I have seen this before. You hear some irony, but overall you can take some really good management thoughts and reminders. What do you think?


Friday, June 3, 2011

Life of an IT Admin


Going to work early hoping to leave early, but getting that call that
requires your attention leading you staying late. Ugh....

Good news is that the application is fixed. Debrief will come later.
Now, it is time to go home and enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Surrounded by Technology; Still drawn to paper

With all the technology that I am surrounded by in my work life and in
my everyday life, I am still drawn to the paper calendar. Now, don't
get me wrong, I still transfer all that I need to my calendar and
reference that on a daily basis. But, when I am thinking and doing
some long term planning nothing is better than spreading out a paper
calender. It just help me see the broader view of up coming events and

What do you do? Is there something paper based that you have just not
giving up yet?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Keyboard Skills - Another Good Use of Gaming Skills

Found another use of my former gaming skills. Odd repetitive keyboard
combinations on when changing file locations which I can not script or
automate the change.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Photo Stream of Setting up a Mobile Hospital

Here is a photo stream of what it takes to set up a Mobile Hospital in Joplin after that major tornado hits the area and the Hospital. Scrolling through the stream looking at the devastation of the hospital should make every hospital take a look at their own disaster recovery plan.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Am Still A Workaholic

workaholic So you would think that having your first child you would stop being a workaholic. While I have cut down some, I am still a workaholic. So rather than staying late at the office, I tend to work remotely early in the morning or working after my kid goes to bed.

Is this good for me? I am sure not. My wife has the same problem…. But, I am thinking in baby steps. I try not to work every night. But, tonight and the nights for the for seeable future are not one of those. Maybe next month.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Malware: Even IT folks get it sometimes….

Yes, I can admit it, even IT folks can unknowingly get come across a malware attack on their machines. IT happened on my laptop today at work.  The difference is that most IT folks know what to do to limit the impact and get rid of the rouge infection.

While researching some excel formulas that I am never really good at, I all of a sudden I got this is fake antivirus “program” on my taskbar. I knew right away that this was cause by a compromised website. Defender.exe or known as a Trojan Mal/FakeAV-FB is just the beginning of an attach. Once installed the compromised computer can then become a gateway for other Malware/Spyware etc….

Immediately, I pulled my network LAN cable and disabled my wireless. I knew that this malware was only the gateway to try to install other malware/spyware. I then, restarted in safe mode. From there, I was able to run my malwarebytes (buy it and support a great product) and remove the threat. I also looked up on Sophos site to determine what other cleaning that I needed to do. After a little registry hacking and deleting Windows Restore points, I was good to go.

The quick action lead me to only have to remove the Trojan and not any other items that the Trojan would soon let in.

Not the best way to spend my lunch hour, but at least I am clean……

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More EMR Parodies….

I must be on an EMR parody kick. This one I found on Meaningful HIT News with Neil Versel (http://www.meaningfulhitnews.com/).

Dilbert: EMR Fun

Saw this Dilbert comic the other day. Great EMR Fun. As an EMR practitioner and implementer, I found this to be very funny. For the non-geeky Star Trek fan, check out "PON FARR" reference.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Using SMS Technology In Healthcare

So, I came cross this link fon twitter(@vwadhwa). It talks about how through the use of SMS text in India Emergency Healthcare is brought to rural India.

I have been to India once and would go back in a heart beat. It is simple amazing the use of cell phone technology and SMS throughout India. Power maybe have the occasional brownouts, but the cell phone and texting will live on.

What I like about this use of technology is rather than bringing in technology, the group adapts technology that already exists.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

An Great Day in San Francisco

IMG00105-20110202-1328While I am not here to gloat, well, okay just a little. The last couple days in San Francisco has been picture perfect. This was a shot from Greens in Fort Mason. If you never been, you have to go. Great food.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Batch Scripting Fun: Playing with Random Numbers

Proof of Concept:

Today, I needed to generate a random number between 1 and 5. Depending on what random number came up, would determine what IP address from a pool of IP address the user would be assigned.

Maybe I had Craps on the mind, but this problem reminded me of dice rolling. All-be-it a 5 sided die. So to test, I thought that I would write a simple Batch script that would generate a random number between 1 and 5.

I had a pretty good idea that I would use the %Random% operation to generate a random number between 0 – 32767. Then I would limit that to between 1 and 5.

My first attempt turned out like this:

set num=%random%
if /i %num% GTR 5 goto loop
if /i %num% LSS 1 goto loop
goto finish
echo %num%
pause >nul

Now it worked but it was slow because if you think about it, I would have to recalculate %random% every time the number was greater than 5 or less then 1. I needed to speed this up.

I knew that math would be the answer. I came across this Simulate a Dice Roll through a Google search. It showed that I was on the right track. I just tweaked it a little to at some logic to be able to run a command after finding the random number between 1 and 5.

@echo off

set /A num=%random% %% 5 + 1
goto NumberFound

if %num%==1 goto one
if %num%==2 goto two
if %num%==3 goto three
if %num%==4 goto four
if %num%==5 goto five

REM Enter next item to do here
echo %num%

REM Enter next item to do here
echo %num%

REM Enter next item to do here
echo %num%

REM Enter next item to do here
echo %num%

REM Enter next item to do here
echo %num%


As you see. The random number is generated and depending on the number 1 through 5, the next set in the Batch script can be executed. While this is a very simple programming 101 type of question, this shows how you can turn an classroom exercise into a practical application.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Using Windows Live Writer 2011 for Windows

WinEssentials I thought that I would try something new. Or, at least new to me. It is the Windows Live Writer 2011. Windows Live Writer is apart of the Windows Live Essentials. Windows Live Writer is an offline blog writer for many different blogging platforms.

I am hoping that this platform will allow me to more easily write blog post drafts. So far so good. As I play with it more I will see if I continue to like this software.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend Travels

So we went to Sacramento for the weekend. Leaving on Saturday morning and coming back Sunday afternoon. For people that know me, I take the minimalist attitude of travel. However, when you travel with a 10 month old you have to get use to change. I am still working on this.

This is the way that I travel.

This is the way that Cooper Travels.

Do you see the difference? The crazy thing is that this amount of stuff does not change all that much if we are leaving for the weekend or the week...