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.

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.

Money, Money, Money

Sitting down today to read through my endless RSS feeds – I have a bunch, don’t you? – with my trusty, always there wherever I may be, Google Reader, I thought about the time I invest in reading others words in relation to mine own.

I don’t write enough. I’ll attempt to rectify this with trying to convert the mind-numbing television viewing time with creative, semi-productive time.

Why only semi-productive, you ask? (See, I can read your thoughts already!) Well, if it was fully productive time, then there presumably would be some sort of end product, whereas all that ever gets produced is are 0’s and 1’s, that is some sort of combination make up bits and bytes, which then come together to form words and possibly express thoughts or whatnot.

So if all it is is a bunch of zeroes and ones, what really does it amount to?

Earlier tonight I had an experience I never thought about, and if asked, I’d probably have replied with, “That would be cool, but not on the top ten list.” That statement would be hard pressed to provide said list, as there isn’t one at the moment, and probably never will be, as I’m lazy that way. If there’s a list, and it has items that are on it that aren’t checked off, then there’s potential for them to never be checked off, and why not live up to your potential, as I was always taught – yet rarely practiced.

A vendor that my company works with – and pays well for their superb product and services – hosted a nice evening of after work drinks and snacks at the New York Stock Exchange trading floor, right here, a few blocks from my place, on Broad Street (the entrance is not on Wall Street, as common misconception would have it). This was in response to their being bestowed the honor of the following morning’s “Ringing of the Bell” – a 9:30am wak-up call for the market, which begins the trading. Once a mundane, boring aspect of some guy’s job, now an honorarium.

Security was tight, as it always is, and you have to be on the list to get through the front door, after which metal is unfairly discriminated against by means of gateways that will beep angrily if you have any on your person. Greeted by vendor representatives, and escorted along the way by ushers, you finally step out on to the trading floor.

Now we’re not talking about a nice little hall, that people mill around and chat, but the actual trading floor itself, where the combination of old-school methods and decor are mashed together with an abundance of new-school technology – from touch screens to ticker tape, this place is a sight to look at.

High ceilings, clocks and tickers everywhere, phones and computer consoles galore. A lot of them even had Playstation-like controllers hooked up to them – I have absolutely no idea why.

Open bar, so I got me a nice scotch on the rocks, and my colleagues and I spent some time walking around, tasting yummy-looking stuff, and spoke to some other visitors about companies and compared some stories.

We also had a chance to talk to some vendor representatives, where after we three voiced our appreciation and happiness with their product, I was emboldened by the knowledge that “an unhappy customer is a chance to improve the business via feedback” line of thinking, and voiced a couple of items that I believe they could do better on. This information was met with appreciation, and I am glad that I voiced my thoughts. I usually let the inner monologue go forth, but on those times when restraint is prudent, it’s good to know that some of the inner can be outer and do well as such.

In any case, it was pretty cool, and I got to stroll around a place that has unspeakable amounts of money pour through it daily, affecting millions of people’s lives, and it was quite pleasant.

There’s a picture behind here, for the skeptics.

Continue reading Money, Money, Money

There’s a first time for everything

First off, let me begin with thanking everyone who has emailed, messaged, called, or in other ways communicated a Happy Birthday to me. It really was great to hear from all of you, and I’m going to try to respond to everyone individually, but in case I don’t, please know that it was well appreciated.

To those of you who’ve been following, you might know that I’ve been going through a lot of changes as of recent, and I thought today would be a great time to jot down a whole lot of things that I’ve done for the first time, while giving some background to make it interesting.

I started my second decade in service to the Israeli Air Force, and have ended it living in Manhattan. Big jump, and wildly exciting.

These past few months of living in the USA have opened first-times for me all over again, and I thought that some of them might be of interest, or maybe even inspire you.

First time living completely on my own – no roommates. Not that there’s anything wrong with roommates (wink at YAP), but it’s something I’ve never done. Now I live on my own.

First gym sign-up and actual attendance. It’s going well, my trainer likes me to push myself harder than I would on my own. Isn’t that the point? Bah humbug.

First time visiting places like Boston, MA, Stanford, CT and Long Island. What can I say? Never been there. Now I have friends and family there. First time eating Hibachi-style!

First time skydiving. And sledding. First time to walk around in public without a shirt on in a place that’s not the beach.

First time watching Broadway – and then off-Broadway, and going back again and again. Needs major update.

First Mac. Ugh. Call me crazy, but I’m not liking it.

First large history post. I thought a lot about that one, and it’s good to re-read it. I never continued on my personal history, maybe another time.

So that’s a lot of the past year – not everything by a far stretch, but a lot of great and goodness.

Today marks another first for me – turning 30 (yes, I know the cat’s out of the bag now. I don’t care). On December 25, or the Fifteenth of Tevet, depending on which calendar you follow, I turned thirty years old. So to mark this occasion, I did another first – snowboarding. Yes, yours truly went out with some friends and headed up a mountain, to hurt himself in ways that have gone previously undiscovered by himself.

It’s not as easy as it looks, but I was in full cold weather gear, and needed it. My butt slammed into the snow so many times today that I think I might need a new pelvis. Same with my knees (and I don’t mean that I need a new pelvis for my knees…), and curiously enough – my big right toe.

Turns out that if you have feet larger than the board, you should try not to slam them into hard packed snow when trying to get up. So I slammed my big toe (while in a two-ton snow boot attached to a snowboard) int the ice, and now it’s scary black-and-blue. Ouch.

So I got to celebrate my birthday, for the first time in a long time, and to end it off, when I got home tonight, and got some dinner ready, I sat down to watch one of my favorite films – The Neverending Story. Don’t laugh at me – I love that movie. I get all teary-eyed and shivers run down my back and all. I guess I’m a big sap, but I love a story that meant a lot to me – the power of books, a good story, adventures and such. It’s probably really cheesy to today’s world and standards, but it’s awesome.

So there. Now I’m going to kick back and relax, and fall asleep to another of my favorite movies – Labyrinth – and wake up all sore in the morning.

If you celebrated the Channukah thing or the Xmas thing, hope you had a good one. Watch The Hebrew Hammer and rejoice!

The world has gone mad! Mad, I tell you!

First off, let me apologize for falling off the grid since the beginning of October – it’s been crazy around here, and I’ve been trying to deal with a lot.

That being said, I wanted to take a moment to express my wonderment about a morning talk show piece that I saw.

The hosts had a few guests, and the tagline at the bottom of the screen read “CHOKING GAME”. My interest was had, and I began to listen on how parents are finding their kids unconscious, and in a few cases, lifeless, after indulging in a little fun game that we all know as asphyxiation.

As some of you may know, our bodies are fueled in part by oxygen. When oxygen is kept from the body, a state called hypoxia begins to affect certain tissues and organs, and mainly, the brain.

And that, which I thought would go without saying, can also cause death. Yes, death.

That having been said, there were some kids and parents who are involved with asphyxiation in some form or another. Some have lost children who have essentially hung themselves, not realizing the dangers. Others were kids who have tried this and enjoyed it, yet no longer attempt this.

One of the reasons a kid said they did it was “It’s not drugs or alcohol, it’s nothing illegal…”

So the fact that people are using asphyxiation as a pastime is nothing really new. And that’s not what bothers be.

One of the hosts actually asked the kid: “Should the dangers of the Choking Game be taught in school? How do we prevent this from happening?”

That bothered me to no end.

I believe Chris Rock said it best: “People want to get high.” It’s true. People have always wanted to get some sort of feeling of a rush, get the blood pounding, adrenaline pumping, or conversely, the chill-out, relaxed feeling.

So yeah, people want to alter their state of existence. This is nothing new. The methods of which we have done so in the past seem to be no longer acceptable in this day and age. Back in the days of Prohibition, people wanted the fire-water, and they got it, any way they could. Then throughout the Sixties, there were more drugs floating around everywhere.

Both of these items have been legally capped – either by age restrictions or legal ruling. Beyond that, from the moment they are old enough to hear, the evils and dangers of these items, and are encouraged to stay as far away from them as possible.

Is that bad? I don’t know. Maybe.

But asking a kid whether he thought strangling himself would be dangerous, that’s just foolish.

Kids that want to get a rush will do whatever they think they can do to get that. Hell, I jumped out of a plane for a rush! That’s dangerous, too. But the danger is much more calculated and different.

Schools, in my opinion, are to teach you knowledge about things you may need to know later on in life. Some of them may be superfluous, others may not be taught well enough, but that’s another topic completely.

Parents are responsible to guide their child to a life path that they believe is the best for their child, no matter what it is. And a parent, that hasn’t taught a kid that putting your hand into the blender is a bad idea, is probably the same parent whose kid doesn’t realize that choking yourself is a fun way to pass the time.

I am not blameless in the life-threatening pursuits. But I know that whatever I do, and the outcome of it, is a choice I have made, not some game gone wrong.

Bottom line – kids everywhere want to have fun. Find a good alternative that they can have that kind of fun, like a vertical wind tunnel simulator, or going on roller coasters, or whatever. Don’t blame the schools for not teaching that choking yourself can get you killed. Running into traffic can get you killed, too. Who taught you to not do that?

And if all else fails, consider this: Natural selection? Could be.

Only 15 minutes? I want more!

It is said that you get 15 minutes of fame.

What happens when that fame is not the fame you wanted? Can you get a refund, trade in, rebate or something like that?

About a month and a half ago, my friend Beka and I went out to see The Fantasticks.

It was a fun show, and as we were leaving the theater, we were set upon by media people – men with cameras and lights and microphones and such, asking questions about the show we had just seen.

They were from a new web site, that hadn’t launched yet – NWHYC.com (catchy name?) – and the both of us, being theatrically oriented, had no problem standing in front of them and pushing a few lines their way. They edited them heavily, obviously, so the transitions are not some effect of a space-time warp something or other.

Here’s the videos of us (if they don’t show up on my site, drop me a comment and I’ll link to another video mirror):

[flv:http://perepartnership.httpsvc.vitalstreamcdn.com/perepartnership_vitalstream_com/manual/20070821_a1_mike_f_theater_fantasticks.flv 490 327]

[flv:http://perepartnership.httpsvc.vitalstreamcdn.com/perepartnership_vitalstream_com/manual/20070821_g1_rebecca_b_theater_fantasticks.flv 490 327]

The $1,000,000 question really is: Are these videos specific to this show, or could they be applied to any show? You decide.

Learn from others what not to do

So a while ago, my friend David sent me a funny article (funny for us, not for the article’s subjects).

It showed what some brilliant SysAdmin had done at his company’s location, and how it backfired miserably.

Read it here: A “Priceless” Server Room: Priceless – Worse Than Failure

I hope you enjoy reading the article. I think I may have Continue reading Learn from others what not to do

And they call this “horror”!

A word to the wise: Don’t waster your time on movies that have nothing new to show you.

Oh yes, spoiler alert for The Messengers (2007) – it’s probably worse than you think.

To start off with – the cast is nice and small, so there’s not 50,000 characters and plot lines to follow. However, the one plot that is there is so weak that it makes you want to kill the writers, not just the actors.

The suspense scenes are so badly drawn out, and the music tries to heighten the sensation – but if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

It all starts out with the family moving from Chicago to North Dakota to a Continue reading And they call this “horror”!