July 28, 2002

I need to live closer to Vancouver

Spent a good portion of Friday in meetings in Vancouver. Got to a little roof top party afterwards with the Chief overlooking the city which I thoroughly enjoyed. And amazingly enough... it was the first function I have been at that they served a good bottle of gwertztramiener. (Some day I will spell that right).

Went and saw Stuart Little 2 with the family on Saturday. If you are a kid, I am sure it is a great movie. Otherwise, the real humor for adults is in the commercials... you will have seen it and saved the money for a ticket. Overall it is pretty much the same as the first movie... although I was amazed at the rendering of the Falcon. Very kewl.

Just finished reading Alan's little tid bit about my confusion, and apparent thought of me laughing at people who are basement deprived. Guess words like blessed flew by him when I stated I must be lucky to not have the problems he is having. If I was going to "taunt" or laugh... I would atleast make an effort to do it.

Speaking of Alan, I was pleased to hear he may have a job opportunity in Edmonton. I snicker since I know what the weather is like there (being from Calgary and having Edmonton as a rival.. I used to drive up there to boo the Eskimos [the football team... stay with me here]). It will be interesting to hear his thoughts on winter life in Edmonton... should be a nice change from the heat of Abby.. oh wait... its even hotter in Edmonton last week than Abby. ;-) Seriously though... good luck on the job dude. Wish you well.

D-Day is upon us. Tomorrow is the government deadline for the claims and no-one withdrew. Has drawn lines in the sand so to speak in my understanding of those people around me, and I must now accept that, them and the consequences. Sure opened my eyes to a lot of things as an employer, a team leader, and a friend. Oh well... time to move on.

Speaking of which, if you haven't noticed, merilus.com now has a page explaining what has happened. (For those who didn't already know). Now it is time to move forward. Thanks to those who have supported Kevin and I during this time, and have helped to minimize the risks/exposure and turmoil we have had to go thorough. Understanding the stress we are going through emotionally, mentally and financially, it has been nice to see some of you send kind words without expectations from us, with no anomosity towards us, and an understanding of just how hard we tried to make everything work for you. You know who you are, and we appreciate it. Thanks.

Posted by SilverStr at 02:44 PM

July 25, 2002

SNMP Done!

Thursday evening and SNMP is done. Full SNMP queries with polling and a tweaked interface to be able to quickly view your network defenses through your network monitoring posture makes Jack no longer a dull boy. And hell... if your NOC is using HP OpenView.... it works for you to.

Everyone has been complaining about the weather, and how they can't stand the heat. I must be truely blessed. With the gorgious greenery around my house, shade to block the rays, and a basement which seems to always be cool, I haven't even noticed. Yet Limos is half baseted, time to stick the turkey temperature gauge in and check if its time to turn 'im. Arcterex is almost ready to make love to his fan for saving him with the super setting, and most others are complaining that its to damn hot. Guess I need to get out to that big blue room myself so I have something to complain about. Of course, if you know me you know I hate the rain during the day (I like it in the early morning and at night)... so I try not to complain about NICE weather.

Feeling pretty tense in my muscles right now. Can't figure out why. I haven't been exerting TO much as I have been in front of the computer pretty much all week.. but feel like I ran a triathalon. This weekend we are transforming one of our rooms into an excercise room to put our treadmill and weights into, and hopefully I can stay motiviated to use them regularly. Mix that with Squash, I should be rounding out an excercise regime to hopefully peel off some pounds.

I need to go relax these muscles. Maybe the hot tub will do it. I'm gonna go find out. Bye.

Posted by SilverStr at 02:41 PM

July 23, 2002

The delicious apple

Last night Alan, Wim, Collin and myself decided to go check out the Apple OS X demo over at VanLUG. I couldn't say I was overly impressed, except for a neat feature where they can drag a folder to a terminal window... and it echos the full path to the cmd line. Course.. I could probably get there just as fast with tab completion in bash ;-) The thing is sure a pretty beast.... love the PDF style rendering of everything... clean fonts etc.. but it doesn't wow me. I did find their monitoring of their xserve product (basically a Mac in a Rack) interesting, especially the idea of being able to light up a rack you are working on so you don't accidently shut down yer pr0n server when you were really wanting to shut down your Kazaa server.

Spent some time talking to Wim about Crystal Reports and the idea of integrating it for more complex reporting in our latest stuff. He sent me an interesting link on how to do it in java.. and I was not overly impressed. Crystal wants you to use JNI to do reports which IMMEDIATELY means I lost my cross platform ability of the app. No way.

Speaking of which, I should get back at it. Having some fun tweaking my monitoring stuff and would like to get that completed in the next few days. TTYL.

Posted by SilverStr at 02:39 PM

July 22, 2002

The business of business

Well, didn't go to the movies. Decided I couldn't afford it right now... we have been to the movies a lot lately. Instead, Arc came from the lake and enjoyed the afternoon with me on my shady deck surrounded by trees and the sounds of the creek running, and that Botti character playing his horn.

I think we basically talked about anything and everything that came to mind, and I was suprised to see him interested about understanding how he could become a sole proprieter and take advantage of home/small based business opportunities that exist through government programs, taxable write offs and the like. (BTW Arc.. just noticed yer page... you don't get away from paying taxes.... you can choose to pay them once a year. What you were thinking about was the issue about getting a GST number or not. Which you should anyways).

If anyone is interested in playing squash, please let me know. If you are willing to play at the Cheam Center in Chilliwack, I would love to start getting back into playing during lunch/late afternoon/evening. I think it will cost you around $5.00 for an hour of play... which isn't really to bad.

Anyways, time to get to work. TTYL.

Posted by SilverStr at 02:37 PM

July 21, 2002

Thats not a lake!

This so called "lake" in Langley (actually in Aldergrove) is a pathetic attempt to woo the GVRD constituants. What a CROCK. That's not a lake.. the pond in my backyard is just as useful. I guess I must be spoiled when I have Cultus Lake just a quick jaunt away. Now I don't want to sound like I didn't have a good time.. I just hate false advertising.

The birthday party was ok. Went to Aldergrove Park and enjoyed the nice weather, and the man made puddle. (See above). Not much more to tell, other then the water balloon fights were extrodinary.

Speaking of lakes, I just got off the phone with Arcterex to come join him at the lake. Really wish I could, but I have to go pick my wife up from work in an hour. *sigh* Sounds like I am missing a REAL lake, and real scenery.

The real question for the day is... will I go see Stuart Little II? Jury still out on that one. I would rather run up to the lake with Arc... but always seeing the glow on my daughter's face when we go to the movies has that small part in my heart that gets me charged. Guess I will know in about an hour when I need to decide. I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime.. I am going to go sit on
the deck, drink some Gwetztrameiner (great white wine) and listen to some Chris Botti.

Posted by SilverStr at 02:32 PM

July 19, 2002

Round one done!

Round one of the SNMP stuff is DONE. Still have lots of tweaking.. but we have a complete embedded snmp agent in under 350K and have full snmp client support. I am graphically drawing the cpu, memory and bandwidth stats.. and figured out how to extract and parse the connection table. Whhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeew. I think I am taking the weekend off.. I'm quite abit ahead of schedule. (For this part... don't get yer hopes up)

The more I grok through the src code for the snmpd daemon.. the more I am kicking myself for not looking more into this earlier. The reality is that engel tried to convince me that snmp might be the way to go a while back. When I originally looked into it the potential for harm, leaked information and exploitation on the firewall was WAY to much to handle in our risk mitigation plans. Well, since then snmp has come a long way. SNMPv3 has cleaner security extensions, and the guys over at net-snmp have got their act together with the 5.0 series they just released. If you are reading this engel.... I never forgot about your input on that. Thanks.

This weekend I am going to some manmade lake in Langley to go to a birthday BBQ. Hope the weather is nice to enjoy it. I also am thinking about taking my daughter to go see Stuart Little 2 on Sunday... as she is dying to see it.. and after seeing the cat in the paint can commenting on how it is "now its a litter box" in the latest commercial... I might enjoy it to.

Well... I'm outta here. Have a great weekend.

Posted by SilverStr at 02:18 PM

July 17, 2002

SNMP Rocks!

SNMP is growing on me. I have completed writing integrated OID queries in Java now, which now has me writing a customized SNMP client that will do my bidding for our latest product. Right now I can get real time stats on CPU, Memory and bandwidth. I can also extract the current stack connection table, but I haven't figured out how to parse it just yet. Sorry Arc.. but I can cleanly drop ulisten now (well.. the real time stuff anyways).

Been on an emotional rollercoaster this week. I miss the old team, especially the dev/graphics section. No familar faces to chat with, no intellectual debates to reckon with, not even an iota of heated debate about HTML standards. Speaking of which, I was sorry to hear that Solas will not be taking the reigns over at CramSession for the WebGuru Voodoo column. I think they are missing a good opportunity with his talents. Well, perhaps they will let him write lots of other good articles.

While feelings of loss have swooped in I have also had feelings of anger and umbrage. Not at any one person, but more at the situation. I received a few letters from the government about some employee claims that will now pretty much for sure be coming out of Limos and my pocket. (Although neither of us know where we are going to get it) We thought we were going to get through this if we worked really hard at rebuilding the new company, that we may get through this with only a few bruises and scrapes, and eventually making good on all those who helped us out over the years. Unfortunately... every dollar now going to the complaintants will result in less money going to the debt at the bank... which means we get hit from either side. *sigh*. I think what upsets me the most is the fact that the only people making the claim were people directly working with me on the team, or around me. And they were the people I held closer to my heart and had more respect for. Worse is if I made my claim on whats owed to me.. none of them would get anything as I am owed CONSIDERABLY more than them combined. Of course going after myself is kinda silly (and spiteful) and is not what I want to do.

The anger has subdued, and it was nice to talk to Muckhead after all this time. He even offered a few tee times, which has made me somewhat happy. Muckhead is a kewl people person and a nice guy to hang with. Hopefully I will get some time to take him up on his offer. I also was delighted to know the Tipper family had a little baby girl. Congrats you two.

Well, I should get back at it. I gotta go a buckle down and get more work done. If we don't get this product out the door.... I am gonna lose the shirt off my back.... literally. And no one wants to see that sight *shutter*

Posted by SilverStr at 02:15 PM

July 14, 2002

Jammin with the best of them

Had an opportunity to take the weekend off. Limos and I averaged over 100 hours each in the last 7 days of working. Was well deserved, and somewhat relaxing.

Friday night I spent some time with my daughter, and we went and slept outside under the stars on our back patio. (It is off the ground and fully enclosed.. so I didn't have to be worried about being eaten by the coyotes or bears). Had an awesome time enjoying the smell of clean air, beautiful canvas of black with silver stars... and the occasional bliss of a falling star streaking across the sky.

It was my friend's stag yesterday, so we spent the day out shooting each other playing Paintball in Langley. I need to get in better shape. Although I can shoot better than most... can't move as quickly as I would like. I had to rely on smart moves to stay alive. After that we went to a really good restaurant called "Montanas". Great food. Nice service. Busy. Once we fully engourged in enough meat and alcohol to make a cowboy blush.. we went and checked out MIIB. Evening ended pretty mildly... which was ok since I had a long drive ahead of me home.

Spent most of this morning relaxing, reading up on SNMP and listening to music. Since the Chief and I have talked about some jazz jam sessions I have been listening to a lot more flugel horn, contemplating if I want to get back into it. Fell in love with Chris Botti and his sounds... and realize that I am missing out on something I truely enjoy. I need a vessle to escape the manner of work I am doing, and I think music may put that back in scope for me again. We will see what happens I guess. Lots of people can/like rock guitar.. but it is a totally different thing to jam with a flugel horn or trumpet. Not as easy to find people to play with.

Posted by SilverStr at 02:13 PM

July 11, 2002

Happy Anniversary to me!

Yesterday was our 9th anniversary. Hard to believe its been that long. Time flies and all that jazz. Didn't do much though, between cash issues and the fact my wife is just recovering from strep throat.

Solas pointed out an interesting little quiz about personality traits. I decided to give it a try and find that I am a ENTJ which means I am a Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging.. or more to the point I am Extravereted Thinking with Introverted Intuituion. If you really care to figure out my personality.. you can read about it here. Never pictured the words "Field Marshal" on the same page as me.

On the work front, the deadline has came and past.. which is ok.. since we delivered a day early. A beta was released on the 9th which has freed up some time for me to start integrating the snmp code. I even found a way to handle agent communications through Java that doesn't cost a fortune, and requires only some wrapper code to get working. Should make life easier. Still have to audit the security extensions of SNMPv3, and see how comfortable I am with them. Security bolted on later always ends up lacking in some regards, and I have no idea how well... or bad.. they implemented it. Time will tell I guess... as I have the code loaded in vi as we speak.

Speaking of vi.... Limos has been doing some neat stuff with code folding that I like. Makes managing a lot of the code much nicer. And being that I can still search in folded code... life is all peachy. I am gonna start doing that in some of the complex java code, and we will see what happens.

Well gotta go. Need to go tag CVS and get to some of the new SNMP code.

Posted by SilverStr at 02:10 PM

July 08, 2002

Weekend Wrap Up

Weekend was quite busy. I had to go through and annilate a bunch of code in some older stuff. Ever feel like you are in a maze and the walls are closing? Well... I started having that when looking at the psyco RSA SSL C code that was in there written by my buddy Arcterex. So instead of dealing with the insane code.... he was nice enough to pop by and let me know what was what. About 30 minutes after that, I was able to clean up the code pretty quickly. Thanks Arc.

I got the added bonus of properly learning how to use branch tags with joins with cvs from Arc, which was pretty neat. All this time I use CVS... I never used the branching. Course.. never needed to. Come to think of it... didn't need to on the weekend either... but it was still kewl.

I am thinking of setting up a photo gallery when I go to China... so with any luck I should be able to dump digital camera pics to this site and allow you guys to see what I am seeing. Depends on if I am allowed to send data through the "Chinese Great Wall". Now before you scream THOSE BASTARDS lets remember other countries have been doing it for some time.

Posted by SilverStr at 02:07 PM

July 05, 2002

Arg. Rant Time!


I apparently needed to spend more time with the old team than I thought, as really simple stuff was missed, or not implemented correctly. What do I mean? Well guys and gals.. the mxp interface I wrote has assert() routines for a reason. You guys used a whomping 5 calls to it. I have over 10 in a single plugin I just wrote. Guess what... debugging and testing is MUCH easier in that plugin than any of the others. And guess what... you really SHOULD catch all return codes from all functions and equate them... even if its just to mxp.log or _log the event. (You really should recover from it... but alas... I get sloppy there myself) Limos is going nuts finding tonnes of backend bugs where because you are /dev/null'ing the returns and not verifying the return codes, you are missing lots of failures and errors. I have been impressed with all the validity checks and pretty outputs he has added (of my god.. he uses colors like a paint brush on a canvas *shutter*) and it really helps to figure out whats going on. I guess the hustle to get things done had everyone taking some short cuts that really should have been caught by me.

Its my fault... not yours... I should have helped mentor you into using the mxp interfaces and use of proper error checking more clearly. I want to apologize for that. I will do better next time to teach you.. and not promote such bad coding style by not showing your the right way, and worse yet...
doing it the wrong way myself in sample/prototype code. Oh and Paul, if you are reading this.... mind putting this in the cirriculum a bit more? They really should know this already when leaving the university. I know very few unix commands that don't have clean return codes. Nor API calls in both C and Java. Programmers should capitalize on that.


Posted by SilverStr at 02:05 PM

I am alive!

I am alive. Since most people who have been trying to reach me check my page as well, I will catch up everyone in a single blow. I haven't forgotten about you... just REALLY BUSY. Seems the large deal we have been working on has been "conditionally" approved if the technology integration goes cleanly. Which means yours truely has to make a trip to China for a few weeks in August. Not to bad I guess... since I will probably be there on my birthday (sucks) but will be taking it off so I can go visit the Great Wall of China (which rox). This deal has solidified NetMaster, and with any luck is JUST the beginning.

We have a few deadlines early this month... which is why I haven't been responding to email. Right now Limos and I are pulling 16 hour days until we get this done. A lot of stuff was more broken than it appeared when we first looked at it, which has me quite dissappointed with things.

Posted by SilverStr at 02:02 PM

July 01, 2002

Happy Canada Day

HAPPY CANADA DAY! My name is Dana... and I AM Canadian! (Ahhh.. those awesome Molson ads rock)

Posted by SilverStr at 01:58 PM