At this point in time….

Today was a big retirement day at work; a guy down the hall retired (he’d been counting down the days on his door for a while, down to small fractions earlier this week), as did a long-time colleague from the Computing Facility — she spent her last week getting a dozen or so new printers installed, though she did finish up in time for a nice going-away cake this afternoon. And one of Diane’s co-workers at the Silicon Valley Lab also retired today; he’s been telecommuting for a bit but will still be missed.

On a slightly different note, I’ve discovered a problem with lifetime subscriptions. Usually, when you subscribe to a magazine, it takes a few weeks for them to start the subscription, and it starts with whatever issue is current when they get around to it. No problem, because they’ll send you the full number of issues, and so I’ll get an issue or two after your subscription has actually expired. But with a lifetime subscription, the issues you miss at the beginning of the subscription never get made up. Sure, the publisher will probably keep sending the magazine for a while after you expire, but that doesn’t really do you much good, does it?

We ordered a pile of toys from eToys back on the 14th, and they finally delivered the last box of goodies today. Luckily, this box didn’t have anything that we had to have any time soon — it’s all stuff to have in reserve for upcoming parties so we don’t have to run to ToysRUs at the last minute. Jeffrey’s birthday present arrived in one of the earlier shipments — I’m glad eToys didn’t really mean it when they said it was out-of-stock ten days after I’d placed the order.

Tomorrow’s Jeffrey’s birthday; I suspect he’ll be easy to get moving tomorrow morning!

Seven days without blogging makes one week

Hmmm…seems to me I’ve read a slogan much like that before, but with other words instead of “blogging”.

At any rate, life has been pleasantly busy for the past week; I didn’t even know about the ETP outage until it was over (and I’d like to add my vote of thanks to Dave and Userland for making this weblog possible and easy, if not strictly necessary). It looks like we’ll continue busy for the forseeable future, too, but I do hope to check in here more regularly again.

Right now, there are four projects getting my attention; in no particular order, they are: closing the books on 2000 and doing my taxes (joy, joy…); planning our trip to Las Vegas (we need to pick a hotel soon); working on my first Sash application in time to enter it into our departmental contest in two weeks; and helping Jeffrey do his 5th grade state report on Minnesota.

For the last one, I’m the designated technology consultant and Internet search specialist — I even have a trophy attesting to my skill at Internet searching, earned at the First Internet Bowl at Internet World in Boston in 1995 (see this press clipping or repeat this Google search if you don’t believe me, though I can’t find any pictures of the trophy, which is in the trophy case at work). But Jeffrey still has to do the work, and he’s none too thrilled about that!

Viva Las Vegas?

We’re thinking of going to Las Vegas during a school vacation in a few weeks; anyone with knowledgeable opinions (or just plain strong opinions) on the chances of finding fun things for an eleven-year-old boy to do there for three or days is welcome to chime in, either by e-mail or in the discussion group. Thanks!

A computer-free weekend, thanks to IBM

It’s been a few days since I’ve flipped my page, and it’s not because of power problems here in California. So far, we haven’t been directly affected by those, though I dread seeing my next month’s PG&E bill, especially the gas side of the bill.

Instead, we spent a computer-free weekend, thanks to IBM. More specifically, thanks to IMS. Diane works on tools to support IMS development, and so she was invited to the IMS Version 7 celebration on Saturday night at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. And since the celebration ran till midnight, they also provided a room at the Doubletree Hotel in Monterey. And they even let her bring me as a guest!

A good time was had by all (or at least by us); Jeffrey spent the night at a friend’s house, and he liked that, too. But by the time we got home on Sunday and caught up with errands and the newspaper, I didn’t feel like turning on the computer. Instead, we talked and watched part of The Six Wives of Henry VIII, which was a better use of our time.

I also finished The Amber Spyglass, the third and final volume in the His Dark Materials trilogy. I had a hard time putting it down to go to Monterey, but I did — and then as soon as we got home on Sunday, I sat down and finished the book. I strongly recommend it — but, even though it’s billed as a children’s book, I wouldn’t recommend it for a pre-teenager.

Now to read what all of you have written over the past few days….

Outage Block 50

PG&E has updated their web site to indicate that “if no outage block appears on your bill, you are in outage block 50.” They also say that outage blocks are subject to change without notice due to operational conditions.

Or, to put it another way, the lights may yet go out at home.

Diane Reese notes that:

They do say on the PG&E webpage that if no other designator appears on your bill, you are in Outage Block 50. Wonder if that means “a protected block, wherever it might happen to occur”? If so, we’re in one, too (but Charlie’s office is not).

I would swear that the bit about Outage Block 50 wasn’t on the PG&E web page on Tuesday (nor the part about outage blocks being changeable on short notice), but it’s certainly there now. My suspicion is that there were complaints about people not being in any outage block (yesterday I heard a KCBS reporter telling the audience how to find the outage block notation on their bill and commenting that “if you don’t see one listed, you’re money!”), so they invented Outage Block 50. But if the rolling blackouts go from block 1 to block 14 and then restart, block 50 may not be affected directly.