new server for inaneworld!

Yay! After several days of tedious work, inaneworld is now running on it's new server.  It was running on windows 2003 with IIS.  Now, it's running on Ubuntu with Apache.  I used the "wordpress" appliance.  A word of caution: watch the memory usage.  Docs say that you can run this with 256M of RAM (I'm running it under HyperV, but this probably applies whichever hypervisor you are using).  I found that after I loaded all my dozens of plugins, the bloat caused the machine to become unusably slow (sometimes hang).  I bumped the RAM to 400M and it lasted longer, but still hung.  I bumped it again to 600M and now it seems happy.  Please let me know what you think of the performance, especially if you notice a difference vs the old server.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



Extreme Home Makeover – what is it with Cops & Firefighters?

Actually, it’s not just Extreme home makeover – it seems everybody does it; glorify the noble walk-on-water people who put out fires and keep our streets safe.  Now don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that they chose that profession.  But the key is they chose that profession.  Nobody held a gun to their head and made them do it.  They aren’t doing it for free because they are wonderful human beings.  Sorry to inject a note of reality, but it’s a JOB folks, just like the job you have.  Do you feel that you are any less of a person or any less valuable because you didn’t choose to be a firefighter or a cop?  I hope not!

I think these shows should diversify and maybe do an episode on some deep-sea oil rig welder who died and left his family in a broken down old house.  Ok, they don’t have the sexy uniform, and aren’t as high profile, but still it’s a high risk profession.  How about bringing it closer to home for the white collar bunch: An episode about a CPA who had a paper cut which got infected and had to have his hand amputated and can’t work anymore.  Of course, this CPA also volunteers to do taxes for a local orphanage (gotta have the human interest angle).

Am I too cynical?  Perhaps – many have said that. But let’s stop with the choir of angels every time some particular high risk profession is mentioned though.

Invasion of personal privacy – Big Brother becomes Little Brother

People like to complain about the specter of Big Brother – our government watching our every move, “protecting” us, regulating us, and generally sticking their bureaucratic nose where it doesn’t belong.  With technological advancements, this sort of thing becomes easier to do and more monitoring becomes possible.  The scary part is this is now expanding to little brother: Parents.

I have talked to parents who delight in these newfound abilities to spy on their kids.  Cell-phone GPS tracking can now track your kid (or anyone you have influence over) without their knowledge.  Alerts can be sent to you if they stray outside certain “zones” you can define (such as school, work, etc).  Time-sensitive alerts can be sent if the drone (your kid) is not where they are supposed to be at 10:00 at night for example.  There is now a device you can get from your insurance carrier (currently in beta test) which plugs into the car’s diagnostic port and provides a real-time tracking feed.  You can track speed (is Johnny driving too fast?), you can track all kinds of telemetry data, all of which is subpoena-able in the event of an accident (possibly not in your best interest).

There are other surveillance techniques and technologies like these which enable you to do some very detailed monitoring of your offspring.  So, it’s clear that we can do this and more now!

The burning question is (or should be)… should we do this?  Just because the individual being monitored is your son or daughter, it doesn’t make any difference.  This is a serious invasion of privacy.  I can’t wait for the first lawsuit where some kid sues their parents over this.

One of the key things we need to learn when growing up is responsibility and trust.  This is a two way street.  You learn to trust people, or not, and you learn to be responsible or suffer the consequences.  You also learn about respect.  Respect is not something that you get at birth, it’s something you earn, and must constantly maintain – sort of like a good credit rating.  If we don’t trust our kids, they won’t trust us.  If we don’t respect our kids, they won’t respect us.  If we spy on our kids, perhaps our kids will spy on us.  Do we want to encourage that?

I know if I were a kid growing up today and I found out my parents were doing this to me, they would lose all my respect and trust in a heartbeat, and those are MUCH easier to lose than regain.