Free for all

Okay, so I’ve decided to open up comments to everyone, registered or not, and test out this akismet plugin.  If you want to prove you are who you say you are, registering is the best way to do so.  If you don’t care that someone could fake your name, then feel free to post your drive-by-postings.  Akismet should be able to take out the spammers so I feel fairly safe doing this.  Have fun!

It was bound to happen eventually.

Hostopia Inc., the place I worked in Toronto immediately prior to my moving back to the Maritimes, has just been bought by a company based in Minnessota called Deluxe Corp., for $124 million.  I’m guessing that the financial company was looking to “diversify their portfolio”, as it were, and branch into website hosting.

I knew something was up when the bigwigs at Hostopia started floating the possibility of going public but never actually doing it — sounded suspiciously like they were trying to attract a buyer.  Well, they have their buyer, and I’m honestly glad I didn’t give more of my life to them than I did, knowing now that I had been working to enrich the coffers of people who already have more money than by rights they could ever need.  (I suppose the same could be said of all companies, but when I got offered eight grand more a year by a much smaller company to do essentially the same job, I knew exactly what I was dealing with.)

The people who worked there, at my peer level, are the only parts of the company I miss, frankly.  Here’s hoping some of you read this now and then.

I’m doing the unthinkable.

That’s right.  I’m selling my comic book collection.

51 comics from my early teens, mostly Superman and Spiderman, but some oddities I had picked up over the years like Ralph Snart, the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Jurassic Park comic-izations, and even a Bugs Bunny comic from 1978 that’s apparently worth $8 near-mint.  A shame the comic is decidedly not mint.  “Fair” or “Good” tops; I dunno, those comic ratings elude me.  I looked through Comics Price Guide and found that most of them are worth $3 near-mint, and a lot of them are likely in that good of a condition.  I’m planning on taking the lot of them down to the comics store in Wolfville to see what kind of price I can get for them… I’m hoping $75.

This is, of course, entirely toward the end of financing my down payment on a house.  The mortgage is doable, however the money for the down payment is problematic.  I have to somehow scrape together just about seven grand by fifteen days before the closing date that we agree upon, that is if this all goes through.  I have a bunch saved up, and I have some resources I can tap, but if it all works out, it’ll be tight for a while.  And by tight, I mean we’ll be eating peanut butter sandwiches and Mr. Noodles for the foreseeable future.

I’ve already converted my “oops-I-forgot-my-lunch” stash of work food from the usual soups and granola bars and such, to a loaf of bread and peanut butter.  And I have every intention of eating leftovers and rice and such to stretch our food budget as long as I can.  Bachelow Chow, here I come!  I’ve got a house to buy, dammit, and I’m going to do it!

HAW!

This was good for a laugh — Supreme Court Reverses Gore Endorsement, Awarding it to McCain

“It is plainly obvious, by reading Section One, Clause Four of Article Two, that the framers, Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton, were firm in their resolve, that in the 2008 Presidential election, 219 years after ratification, former Vice President Gore, who the constitution also stipulated must lose the 2000 Presidential election regardless of the voters’ wishes, would be required to hand his endorsement and considerable public influence to John McCain, who was himself one of the original framers of Constitution,” Scalia wrote.

In other news, the process has been started for my mortgage application.  If all goes well, we should know whether we can put a proper bid in on the house within the next 24 hours.

Firefox 3 is out

For those of you that are using Linux, you already know how to update Firefox — just use Update Manager and install any Firefox update that’s available.  For you poor souls on Windows, good luck — the download site has been a very slow site all day long.  And it’s no wonder — there have been (last time I checked) roughly 800,000 downloads today alone.  The counter seems to be broken now, though, so I don’t know if that’s still incrementing.

Hooray for open source!

PHP safe mode shenanigans

I’m on my lunch break, and I’m a bit annoyed right now.  This morning I tried to install the pre-packaged Gallery installer that’s available in my website’s Plesk, and last week I tried to manually install Gallery2, both without success.  Apparently PHP Safe Mode is enabled on my server, meaning I can’t install either, since they were programmed to be able to allow an admin to directly upload pictures and thus the administrator has to be able to mess with the server’s directory structure.

The reason I’m annoyed is, PHP Safe Mode is basically just a way of protecting poorly configured servers from “black hats”.  If the server is configured with a chroot environment (as in, the user of the web site has his own “root” filestructure — and therefore can’t break out of it to mess with other peoples’ sites), then PHP Safe Mode is utterly useless; all it does is serve to break applications and frustrate PHP programmers.  Honestly, the fact that PHP Safe Mode exists at all is kind of silly (even the developers of PHP say so!), considering that anything you can do in PHP, you can also do in CGI, and there’s no such thing as a CGI safe mode.  The only reason I’m upset about this, and not simply switching to CGI, is that CGI is a vastly older web programming protocol, and while useful now and then (especially to black hats!), it is not the programming language of choice for today’s programmer.  No, that honor goes to ASP, the demon-spawn of Microsoft.  It’s only us open source geeks who prefer PHP.

I can see that Safe Mode is turned off for the Unix Pro packages on this server.  I don’t know if it’s really worth paying more a month just so that I can put up a pretty picture gallery.  I guess I might confront the web service about this, and see what they have to say.  Maybe it’s just turned on by default on these cheaper packages, but can be turned off if you ask.  Or maybe they really are holding me hostage, so to speak, to get more money for the “full featured” PHP.

But I’m not going to call them today.  Today, I’m a bit busy at work, and I intend to get in touch with a mortgage broker during my spare time this afternoon… if I even get any.

House

So, today we cleaned the house, I called a mortgage broker about getting a mortgage on a house, and House is on the teevee right now.  No seriously.

Okay, I suppose we didn’t clean “the house”, so much as we cleaned our current place of residence, which is one half of a duplex in a co-op.  We’re going to be participating in a block yard sale this weekend.  And good lord, is there ever a lot of stuff to sell!  I’m planning on selling my X-Box, with Fable, Ninja Gaiden and Halo 1, along with wireless controllers, a DVD remote, and the headphones for playing online (which I never did).  My going plan is to bring those straight to EB Games to see what kind of price I get there, first.  Unless one of my loyal reader (singular intentional) is interested, in which case I’d cut them a way better deal than EB Games would give them.  If the price is unacceptable, then into the yard sale it goes.  Right alongside a fake fireplace whose heater is broken, a bunch of books that I’ve been trying to get rid of for roughly six months, numerous electronics, some knicknacks, kitchen supplies, and all the standard yard sale fare.  You know, like unopened Windows ME Upgrade boxes ($5!  What a ripoff steal!), and a heavy bag that I’ve never been able to put up anyplace.  E-mail me if you need directions, there’s actually a lot of decent stuff here that we just need to get out of our basement.

As for the house we looked at, it’s a two-year-old Prestige Home “mini-home”, 74′ by 16′, in perfect condition, and if we can get a mortgage, it’s practically ours right now.  Yes, I know, that technically means it’s a trailer.  And it’s technically in a trailer park right now.  Our current long-term plan is to get the house, get a plot of land somewhere, and move the home there.  Maybe put it on a foundation one day.  Convert the front of the whole thing into a greenhouse, install solar panels and wind turbines, pack the back with a thermal mass, put a roof garden on it for insulation purposes, collect rainwater and passive solar heating… okay, that’s getting a little ahead of myself I guess.

By the way, I’m going to try not to let it go this long again.  There’s quite a few topics I’ve wanted to discuss over the past few weeks, and I’ve mostly just been either working like crazy, or focussing on my home life.  I suppose I can’t be blamed for that, but it’s hard to build readership when you don’t really ever post anything.

Better late than never.

Senator Hillary Clinton has officially suspended her campaign and endorsed Barack Obama. While she was, right up until mere days before Obama clinched the nomination, claiming she’d take the nomination fight right through til Denver, she has realized that unfortunately the steam has run out for her campaign.

Don’t get me wrong. Obviously I’m supporting Obama, as you could tell from my previous posts, but I sincerely believe that either one of them would have made a fine Democratic president, and a breath of fresh air to the whole world in comparison with what the Republicans evidently have to offer policy-wise.  (And it’s because of the effect of the American government on the world stage that I’m at all interested, to be quite honest.  Yes, I’m a Canadian, but I’m a citizen of this planet, and what America does has far reaching repercussions.)  So, honestly, I’m happy that Clinton has suspended her campaign and thrown her weight behind the grassroots juggernaut that the Obama campaign has turned out to be, even if it means a good person who ran a good campaign has lost what could be her best chance at the most powerful position in, likely, the world.

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Oh jeez, I got hope all over this blog.

Barack Obama just won the Democratic nomination.  He has earned enough delegates through the proportional primaries, caucuses and superdelegate nominations, to make the necessary 2118 delegate threshold.  The numbers as of the full 50 states having voted (and Democrats Abroad, Puerto Rico, Guam, and god knows who else, I can’t remember), from Daily Kos:

Delegates: Pledged Super Total Needed
Obama 1,764.5 366 2,151 -
Clinton 1,639.5 285.5 1,925 -
Remaining 1 151.5 152.5
(2,117 delegates needed for victory)

So there you have it. The numbers are up. The delegates, however, need to actually do the voting in three months, and that gives Hillary Clinton a sliver of hope in order to attempt to leverage herself into Obama’s VP nomination, with or without his support. Despite her having mathematically lost the nomination three months ago, despite this primary lasting 17 months and outlasting every previous primary, despite her going from “inevitable” to “underdog” to “mathematically incapable of winning”, she’s not suspending her campaign, not stepping down, not calling for unity of her party behind Obama so the Democrats can finally start fighting Grampa McCain and his hundred-year war. This irritates me.  The center on this particular position cannot hold.

It sort of spoils the “finality” of tonight, when one of the two parties is incapable of facing reality.  Kind of reminds me of this: