Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The house is mine! All mine! Muahaha!

Well it's official. I'm now a home owner! Wish me luck.

I've not moved in yet, so I'm not totally sure what I've gotten myself into yet, but I'm excited right now.

So thus opens a new chapter in my life, exciting and scary.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Black Lists vs. Individual Filters

I've been working with our customer mass email list today. This is a list that we use to notify our customers when software updates are ready, federal or state news pertaining to HR or Payroll and yes, some marketing. Our customers request to be on this list, so even the marketing materials are NOT spam.

We use a product/service called ExactTarget.com. They provide the means to send to these large lists, while providing statistics and other handy tools. They have strict rules governing their use and they do not tolerate clients using their services to send spam. They want to remain on the good side of the very narrow line between legitimate marketing email and spam.

Some of our customers ISPs or even their internal IT departments refuse to open up their server level filters to us, leaving us and our contact at that company with no reasonable option. Basically they are out of luck.

I've seen this kind of spam filtering before and while it's quite effective at blocking junk email, it has a high rate of false-positives. In other words, lots of legitimate email gets filtered out as well. Personally I feel this is much too drastic, especially when the email administrator is unwilling to give his/her users an flexibility. A few of our customers' ISPs were quite willing to open up our emails to our client. Others almost laughed in their faces and said, "In your dreams!" Email Dictators!

What we use here, where I work (I use it at home too), is a much more personalized approch, where the end user can make the determination of whether the email is junk or not. It's a free open-source product called "SpamBayes". You can get it from SourceForge. It's a great filter that 'learns' through a little training what is spam and what is 'ham' (good email). Through statistical analysis it is quite successful at moving junk into the junk folder and it also has a nice 'suspects' folder for those emails that it's not quite sure about.

Since implementing SpamBayes the users here have been a LOT happier and I very rarely hear any problems about junk mail now. If you're a home user or work user, take a look at this product. If you have a lot of issues with junk mail, you'll like this product and solution a lot more than letting your ISP screen everything.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Out with the old...

I removed a couple blogs (from the left) that I wasn't reading any more. I also removed a couple links on the right as well. I use them for my own personal use as much as 'advertising' other peoples sites. They were simply taking up space. Away with you!

I did, however, add a new blog. Alton Browns' Rants & Raves. Those of you who don't know who he is, he's the host of Good Eats on the Food Network. It's a great show, informative and entertaining at the same time. Of course the same could be said for Iron Chef, but most of that stuff I wouldn't want to eat.

Anyway, I found his blog to be as entertaining as his show, though with a slightly sharper edge, though I believe that to be a good thing. Tell it how you mean it AB!

If you have never seen Good Eats, try it a couple times, you might like it. It's on at 6 PM CST/7 PM EST. Mountain and Pacific time zones, your on your own.

Scary Dream

I'm not usually one to succumb to scary images. I enjoy reading Clive Barker books and his movies. I rather enjoyed the Resident Evil movie. Though I've never played the game I have played Silent Hill. Scary images like that normally don't bother me, but last night they did.

I was in a game, remotely controlling a weird little tribble like thing, but it would mutate into a big nasty monster if it fed. But that never happened. It died. Then I had to walk the halls by myself. It was a business hall. Almost like a hall in a school or hospital, with doors here and there. I walked deeper in and around a corner. There were elevators, but they were broken. Then I had to walk back, but the lights had gone very dim, almost dark. Pretty soon most of the illumination was coming from the lights further down the hall, where they had not shut off. Lots of long shadows and grainy darkness. There was a door to my right. I turned to it and tried the knob gently. In my hand it started turning back and forth quickly and loudly, as if someone on the other side was trying to open it too, but it was locked. Then the door opened suddenly, to darkness.

I'm not sure what it means, if anything, but sleeping afterwards was difficult and all other dreams after that were shrouded in gloom. Must have been something I ate. LOL

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


Those who know me well know I can be a stubborn man. It's not like I'm stupid

stubborn, but I know I can do anything I set my mind to. It might take
me longer or require me to request the aid of an expert, but I'll do it.

Well I've been challenged. I don't think it was an intentional challenge, but
the gantlet has been thrown. My parents don't believe I can handle the house
I'm buying. I don't think it's about the payments or if I can handle home ownership.
I believe they feel I cannot handle working on the house. It does need
some work, but not a lot. There are a few rooms I'll want to remodel eventually,
but for now they are fine. The kitchen and bathroom are a bit dated, but quite
functional. The den and office have some cheap paneling up on the walls and
ceiling that I would like to replace with drywall. There are some minor drainage
issues too, but a spade, gravel and some perforated pipe will go a long way
towards fixing that.

Is this house going to be work? Yes it is? Are there more skilled and qualified
people that could make this house into more that I could? Probably? Does that
mean I can't do it though? No it doesn't. I may have to pay a bit more here
and there but I can also save money here and there because of the friends I
have and their friends who do many of the things I'll be wanting to do. For
instance, my office roomies' husband used to build cabinets. Who's to say I
couldn't save hundreds if not thousands of dollars hiring him to build custom
cabinets, rather than buy expensive pre-fab units?

Bottom line is that if someone (parents or otherwise) is going to try to talk
me out of something, never question my ability to handle it. I'll do it just
to prove them wrong and I'll do it WELL.

Monday, August 09, 2004


I guess I should write and explain that I'm buying a house. The link on my previous post goes to a gallery of pictures of the house.

Some details:

  1. It's 52 years old (built in 1952 for those bad at math, myself included)
  2. I close on August 31st, but we may try to close sooner if possible.
  3. It's on 0.97 acres of land, so you can be sure I'll be busy caring for that yard!
  4. It's about 2000 sq ft of house, but there is a good portion of the basement that they counted as livable space that'll need some serious TLC before it'll be usable, but that's not a problem. The upstairs is in great shape.
  5. Officially it's 3 bedrooms, 2 bath. The reality is there are 2 usable bedrooms and one bath. In the basement is a cave that could be a bedroom, but will be eventually converted into an office and then there is the 3/4 bathroom. It's cramped but functional.
  6. It has a nice patio out back for BBQs and entertaining.
  7. REAL hardwood floors. I'll be having them refinished before moving in as the current owners tried to redo them and kinda crapped them up, but luckly, no damage, just a poor job.
  8. The kitchen has a nice new tile floor.
  9. The sweet refrigerator with a water filtration system is staying.
  10. It's in a GREAT neighborhood, with little to no traffic, except for the local residents. In other words there are no through roads, so no one will try to use the neighborhood as a shortcut.
  11. It's physically closer to work, but I think the commute will be as long. There is more traffic on this side of town.
  12. I'm only 5-10 minutes away from a nice large mall with a huge megaplex movie theater, including an IMAX screen.
I'm sure there are lots and lots of other good and bad things about the house that I'm still going to discover. I'm quite confident the house will be a nice one though. I like the idea of eventually redoing the basement. It'll be a fun project. And of course none of it has to happen right away since the main floor is in great shape. We'll probably get settled in first and furnish the place before looking to do a lot of remodeling. Little projects here and there. It doesn't have to be done tomorrow. I'll have to keep reminding myself of that. I can be a bit impatient sometimes.

I'm having it inspected tonight. Hopefully the inspection goes well. If not I'll have to start over. If it goes well then it's just a matter of getting everything wrapped up and waiting for the bank. *fingers crossed*