Climbing to the top

Today, some crazy Frenchman decided to climb the New York Times building. A more detailed story here.

I was set to meet some improv pals at 39th and 8th Ave – one block away from the NYTimes building, and as I approached, throngs of people were in the streets, yelling and pointing.

It seems like there’s a second climber, who also wanted to scale the impressive building.

So naturally, i stopped, yanked my camera out of my bag, and snapped off a few.

See here:

Continue reading Climbing to the top

Cold and wet isn’t all that bad

So some of you might remember that I have done some secret IE missions here in NYC.

It’s always a ton of fun joining a bunch of people to do something a little odd.

This time, we congregated in the Brooklyn Bridge and took pictures of the Manhattan Bridge. In the rain. And cold rain.

There were tons of us – about 700 – and we lined the bridge. I came early to the meetup location, and randomly met Matt, who had ridden in from CT on the train and needed somewhere to dump his travel bag. I offered my place, with a provided his bag wouldn’t tick or something like that.

We headed back to the meeting spot a few blocks away, and join a huge group of people, hear the instructions, and head across the bridge. In the meantime, we find Matt’s lady – Autumn – and we all set across the bridge and find a spot about in the middle to stand.

And wait.

And wait.

It seem that it took a little too long to get a large crowd organized, and then even longer to get the event rolling.

IE BrooklynBridge

Some people left, as it was, after all, cold and raining.

But the effect itself was pretty cool, once it happened, and gave us a lot of cool pictures to show the world.

I stuck with my newfound pals, and we had a lot of fun talking and playing in the line, arguing with someone else whether Pi is a real number (or just not a whole number).

After taking a bunch of pictures, we all headed over to the Beekman Pub, where we had some drinks, and I regaled my captive couple with my (newfound) knowledge of NYC. I felt like a “real New Yorker”.

We split from there to Two Gold Street for food and more drinks, and then after that ended up in my beloved Fresh Salt, where we played a resounding few rounds of Apples to Apples with th bartender and two other patrons.

All in all, lot of drinks, good company and shared experiences make it all worthwhile.

The IE event page is here – there’s even a short video. See if you can find me (hint: I’m in the first 30 seconds!)

To jump, or not to jump?

Today I was waiting for the train, and some young guys were tossing a football, back and forth.

At some point, one must have dropped it, as it bounced off the floor, on to the track below.

They seemed to deliberate jumping down there to retrieve the ball, and I had a shutter waiting to catch that, but they must have thought the better of it.

When would you risk jumping down there? Other than the obvious, you know, screaming baby and such. What would drive you to taking that kind of risk?

Monitor this.

A while back, we began investigating centralized monitoring tools for multiple systems, cross-platform, alerting, etc.

One contender was a package from MS, and a few others were tossed in the ring.

We did a proper match-up (or shootout, as I prefer) and tested a couple of candidates. While the all-inclusive MS offering is probably the best-functioning one, the cost is too prohibitive for a monitoring tool – about $1500/host monitored.

The extensivity and ease of use is uncomparable, but cost being a factor, we looked at another popular solution – Nagios.

Open source, modifiable – or should I say – Build Your Own – as it comes wth some basic egine concepts,a nd then you pretty much have to build every single monitor you want to look at.

The result is a more targeted monitoring solution, inasmuch it does exactly what you set it out to do – but absolutely no more.

The comparison showed this past week when I got an alert from my test MS instance about a SQL job running too long, something that I would have had to create some code, adapt it to monitor that specific job, and hope it could deal with exceptions I hadn’t thought of.

That’s a difference between a specialist in a particular field (i.e. DBA, mail admin, etc) and the overall concept of a systems administrator – sometimes a jack-of-all trades.

The MS offering is combined of “Management Packs” that are written by the developers of the systems that are being monitored – i.e. Exchange developers write the monitors for exchange and so on, whereas in Nagios monitoring world, you are expected to be able to figure out all of your own monitors/thresholds, etc.

I guess it makes it a little more interesting in the long run, as building something from scratch allows you the familiarity of knowing the ins-and-outs of the systems, but it’s time consuming and the returns are not as immediately apparent.

But it’s affordable. And we’ve got the techie know how to do it. So we do it.

If any readers have used Nagios, are interested in it, have advice, want advice, want to see what the color blue tastes like, let me know.

Who said that Granny Smith isn’t a good Apple?

Some of you may know that I don’t hold much love for Apple’s operating system.

It feels so clunky compared to my Windows-fu knowledge, and the change from one to the other is not at all simple.  I’d rather use Ubuntu, to be honest.

But here’s my current beef with Mac OSX – my machine is bound to Active Directory (in a corporate environment, they ALL  should!) and as any good computer, looks for a Domain Controller after a reboot, to check your login credentials, apply any scripts, etc

If it’s a mobile machine, typically you’ve set it up as a “mobile user account”, meaning that the machine is to cache your credentials, and in the absence of a DC, check the local cache and allow you to log in.

However, whenever MINE reboots, it takes about half an hour delay to log in, and there’s no progress, cancel, notification, etc as to WTF is it doing. Eventually, it might let me in. But in the meantime, time is a-wasting.

I finally got fed up enough to really research this, and it seems that there’s a way to fix it manually (in what all OSX users will deny vehemently is NOT a Registry!)  by modifying the values to a few keys, to reduce the timeout wait. But you can only do that once you’ve logged on.

So I’m stuck using another machine until mine logs me in and lets me change it. What a waste of time.

Windows will time out within a minute and let you know why.

Grumble. grumble, grumble.

He’s back, and he’s bad.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I left for my visit home, and while I have to complete my full vacation post (and it’ll be a long one), suffice to say that I am still alive, despite random attempts to change that, and had a great time.

Jet lag is annoying, and I think I’ve finally kicked it, and I started my 201 improv class – it’s gonna be great.

Back in New York City, I am happy to report that it’s still on the map, and hasn’t scurried off and hidden under the grandfather clock in the foyer in my absence.

The countdown begins!

In these last few hours before my wings of steel bring me back to the family and Holy Land, I’ve had little time to reflect upon what it is I am actually doing.

I’m about to get on a plane, a little larger than the ones I’ve been jumping out of, and it’s going to hurtle itself into the sky, thanks to years of design, trial and error, aerodynamics, and lots and lots of fuel.

Incredible what we can do, huh?

Last night, a friend of mine, Gadi, sent me a quick message that he’s in town, and I popped over to his hotel, and we went out for a couple of drinks and something to chow.

Amongst the MANY things we talked about – because it’s always FUN to talk to other people that have hobbies and pastimes that they are passionate about – was him taking an interest in understanding body language. We discussed different aspects of it – him from his more educated position, and me from my if-I-can-make-this-sound-good-it-might-be-true position.

It was interesting to discover that one of the books he’s read approaches body language from a “pick-up” perspective – how to use what you know to help you pick up chicks.

Discussing this brought me to the fact that I am one of those “few”, fearful of rejection, therefore firmly staying within my comfort zone where I know I rule, can be awesome and never have to worry.

A couple of weeks ago, a bunch of us went out to a bar, after a company function, and an attractive gal was part of the group, whom I had never met before. She seemed a little reserved, so I jumped in, opened the floor, and we got to discussing about thirty different subjects, all in a fun mess.

Off to the side, my friend from the office is making huge gestures that even a blind man could understand that she is telling me that “she’s into you, ask her out!!!” (with exclamation points, as well.)

I immediately try to figure out how, why, when, wherefore, who???!, and cannot broach the subject at all.

Another half hour goes by, and my friend pulls me aside, and almost dictates my next lines, and I ask her, (with absolutely no sleaze in my tone) “I know you’re heading out of the city tomorrow noon, would you like to grab some breakfast/brunch before you go?” (The sleaze bit is for a friend I told the story to, and he commented, “It kinda sounds like you were mentioning the ‘What kind of eggs do you like?’ line” Which I wasn’t.)

She stutters out some lame excuse, turns cold, and takes three steps back.

I, figuring that “that was that”, head back to the bar and down another drink.

Anyways, no matter the outcome, I learned something important. No matter what happened, I am still walking around, still living, and it’s no big deal.

So thank you, my friend, for encouraging me to step outside, and feel the weather. I think I might just do it again.

Athleticism is for those that have the desire to be athletic

In recent times, I have posted about attempting to lose weight, work out more, be more physically active and such, but I recently was asked if I would like to join a proper league.

Now, the person asking this is a very physically active friend. He’s a snowboarding instructor, plays football, volleyball, used to play dodgeball, and probably a few other sports, too.

Oh, and we skydive together

Now, he’s asked before if I was interested in joining in the aforementioned sports, but my response has typically been some stupid excuse: “I might hurt myself”, “I’m in horrible shape” and more.

But when he asked me about this sport, I had to take pause and think about it. Yes, that’s right.


Oh, what a wonderful sport! A lot of us remember being young, and some can further remember the illustrious game of kickball. The game where almost anyone is ensured of hitting (or kicking!) the ball, and trying to make it to first base. (Admittedly, on an entirely other note, getting to first base is pretty hard to do.)

So I agreed to look further in to it, and I checked out the web site and the rules, regulations, etc.

Now, this is a real league, with divisions, teams and ultimately a championship. However, I am a little conflicted as to which division I’d like to be in.

Players, Sorta Players, Casual and Extremely Casual.

Seriously? Yes.

Sounds like the type of sport for me, I’m sure.  Now, since someone from my company is organizing this, I have little to no control over which division I’d be in, but that doesn’t matter – they all seem pretty laid back.

Oh, and the regulations get VERY specific about the amount of women that have to be on each team, and how the kicking lineups have to be as well. Interesting. All in the name of fairness, I guess.

So in any case, when I get back from my pilgrimage I will be in a Wednesday night improv class, and when that completes, I’ll hopefully start a in a weekly kickball league.

Odd, eh?

My spring pilgrimage

So when I moved to New York almost an entire year ago, one “condition” was that I must come back at least once – if not twice – a year for a familial get-together.

Amazing that these times that I fly coincide with two major Jewish holidays – Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot (Feast of Booths, and it has nothing to do with trade shows 🙂 ). Totally unplanned, right? Wrong.

In biblical times, Jews would take a journey to Jerusalem three times a year, to visit the Holy Temple, bring offerings and sacrifices, and if you think about it, throw down and party.

Yes, in a ritualistic and holy manner, but party nonetheless.

So I am doing the same. I am flying to Israel, arriving on the 16th, and will be all over – i.e. no plans written in stone, other that having the Seder at my sister’s, and the following Shabbat with my folks. Oh, and sorting out numbers computer issues for them all. 😉 So I’m open to suggestions.

I’m hoping to rent a car, and be a little less reliant on public transportation, as if my memory serves me well, Egged still ain’t up to MTA times and schedules. So there’s options for everything.

Drop me a line with an idea, a place, and meeting time and a number, who knows? I might just be there.

See you next week!

The rumors of my death have been (not so) greatly exaggerated

So some of you may have heard that I fell sick a couple weeks ago.

This post is for those most interested, and myself, as I recall the events.

It was pretty bad.

Let me elaborate.

I’ve never been one for conventional medicine, thanks to my upbringing. Doctors are mostly just elaborate mechanics, trying to fix a fairly complex machine. The first step to fixing any kind of machine is determining what is wrong in the first place. “Knowing the disease is half the cure.” Most of the time, Continue reading The rumors of my death have been (not so) greatly exaggerated