Monday, May 9, 2005

v6.4 - Work that Thang

Good morning folks,

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First off I would like to apologize for the lack of musing the last couple days. Let me assure you, if I had been able to write I would have.

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For the technical people who read my musings, I have migrated over from my Sendmail/Atmail configuration to Qmail/Vpopmail. Let me say this process is covered in massive detail across the entire linux user community and there are thousands of ways to migrate over. Unfortunately there was only ONE set of instructions which worked for me.

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I''m still not 100% certain this musing will make it out the door as I have only had minimal time to test my new setup. Hopefully it works without too many issues.

Did you guys miss me? Let me state that if you need to ever contact me, you can feel free to email me at ralic -at- fiendz -dot- net and I will reply. If you have a friend or family member who may want to get my daily musings, please forward them to the website or drop me a quick email asking to be put on it. I have some plans to clean up the interface and make it easier to subscribe (and unsubsribe) in the near future.

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That all said, I again apologize for not getting the last two musings out to you. Work has been a major pain in the bottom this week as we have had our new HR rep in town looking over things and listening to people''s complaints. I''m sure she had several ear fulls and was quite busy while she was here.

As if company politics wasn''t enough, my boss has started doing reviews with our team. I know he has met with a few people already and from what I''ve heard is things didn''t go well. People are getting declined raises (despite already being told mine was approved!) and the overall mood in this office is way way down. Of course, I just sit here and work away. I''ll bitch if asked to and I do my job.

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World of Warcraft has been less than exciting lately. Blizzard is a great company and they have put out some solid games in the past. If you''ve ever played on Battle Net you would think I was crazy, but I still think they put out some of the best games on the market to date. Granted Battle Net was a free service which people exploited to the max so they could cheat, the World of Warcraft servers are quite secure and Blizzard has learned a lot since Battle Net and has cleaned up a lot of code and issues. That isn''t to say there aren''t issues, but they have come a long way since War Craft: Humans vs Orcs. :)

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I can''t say exactly what is turning me off about WoW today. I''ve hit level 60, I am a Sergeant rank for PvP. Last week my standing was #143 on the server (out of all the alliance players on Uldum) and I still have a ton of content to see and a ton of quests to finish.

I have been spending a lot of my time on alts. My Druid is level 22 now and my Mage is level 21. I''m still not certain which character I want to level up so I''ll just level both at the same time and see what happens later in the game. Once I hit level 40, those two classes are really going to start to take off and I''ll most likely decide at that point which one I''ll take to 60. In fact, just thinking about playing the Mage is exciting as that class is very powerful and has a lot of tricks up its sleeve.

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All in all, I use my main toon to help other people level up and PvP. If I happen apon a chance to do a high level raid instance, I will go; otherwise I don''t specifically go looking for high level groups.

My father called me the other day and he is just about to hit level 40 with his Paladin on another server. I keep telling him he should have just rerolled on Uldum, but he is happy where he is and has been taking part in groups and such. I can''t imagine my father being a social gamer, but he is telling me about the groups he''s been in and the people he has met in-game. I found it quite odd talking with my Dad about the game because he was using terms like VC, IF, AH and other things that only WoW players would understand. It was creepy but cool at the same time.

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I want to talk to you guys a little bit about Writing today. This is something that has been creeping up every now and again in my musings and in my day-to-day life. Let me be honest and say my goals and interests have shifted drasticly since I started writing this musing earlier this year. I have gone from wanting to do this semi-informal once a day write to help my writing skills to wanting to be a full fledged writer. The pen is mightier than the sword, or something like that.

I have bee dealing with an issue some would refer to as Writer''s Block. I talked about this in a musing a week or so ago and I have been having issues actually sitting down and writing. One of my friends at work is taking University courses in the evenings and has just finished off a course on Writing. We sat down yesterday along with another friend at work and talked about Writer''s Block. It was interesting to see the two of them talk. The first friend (we''ll call him Brad) was looking at writing from a different angle than my other friend (we''ll call him Jason). Brad likes to look at things creatively while Jason likes to disassemble things into what he likes to call "Frameworks". Each person is made up of different "levels" of society. They also have what are known as Framworks, which make up their social aspects and how the react to situations. Well, Writer''s Block is another example of afore mentioned Framework and Jason will systematically seperate the term "Writer''s Block" until he has come down to the root cause. Brad, on the other hand, will look at the person side and see what is going on in their lives. How is work going, how is home life, how is your frame of mind and all these other things. So to hear the two of them talk was quite interesting and it ate up most of my afternoon yesterday listening to the two sides.

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My question is, framework or personal? I would guess the answer would be a bit of both. We are humans, not computers. We shouldn''t need to disassemble and reassemble things like a computer. Humans have something computers don''t; we have feelings and emotions. Sure, a computer can be programmed to simulate emotions and feelings, but a computer doesn''t really feel. Hell, even some people can be "programmed" to simulate emotions and feelings. The point being we, as humans, need a bit of structure in our lives that help direct the feelings and emotions. If we ran our lives based on nothing but feelings, our society would be worse off than it is today. We have law and balance because we have structure in our day-to-day lives. Now, when someone starts telling me HOW I need to feel, that is when I get a little bent out of shape. I''m sure most of you have seen the movie "Bruce Almighty". For those who haven''t, it is a movie about a news reporter who is having a really hard time. He mocks God telling him he could easily do what he can. Of course, God gives Bruce his powers and says, "Fix it". Jim Carrey is an amazing actor and does a great job in this movie; I watch it everytime it comes on one of the movie channels. My point is, there is a scene in the movie where God is explaining the rules to Bruce. One of the rules is God can''t mess with the Human "Free Will". Bruce''s response to that is "Can I ask why?" and God replies, "YES you can!! That''s the beauty of it!".

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We all have the freedom of will to make decisions and choices every day. Those choices and decisions we make are created by our brains performing complex calculations weighing odds and running simulations. Lets say a child walks into a store. The store clerk has his back to the child stocking some shelves behind the counter. The child looks over and sees a box of candies. Without even thinking about it, that child has 2 choices; take some candy or don''t take some candy. Unfortunately with Free Will, comes consequences.

if (child = takes_candy) {
$chance=dorand(1,100);
if ($chance >= 50) {
Child is Caught
} else {
Child gets away with it
}
} else {
Child walks away and doesn''t steal
}

Basically, that is an easy to read code of what could potentially happen if a child decides to take candy. It make look complex to you, but your brain does these kinds of things hundreds of times a day. You constantly think about consequences to actions. Driving down the road, do you speed a little bit to get home faster or do you keep to the speed limit? Do you speed up when that light turns yellow and you''re almost there? Do you stop at the store and pick up Milk? These are all situations which REQUIRE a decision which is made subconsciencly.

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So where am I going with all this? I somehow lost my place WAY back there when I went from framework vs personal while talking about Writer''s Block. So getting back on that subject quickly. My problem with my Writer''s block is simple.

1) lack of things to talk about that interest my readers
2) fear of reader rejecting what I''m talking about

You see, I don''t know who reads these musings on a daily basis. I do know who is signed up on my mail list, but these musings are also published on my personal website. Who is to say this website doesn''t get his by 100 people a day? I could easily find out through my webalizer hit report, but I like the mystery of not knowing. I am trying to overcome points 1 and 2 above so I can break past this writer''s block I have and actually get back to writing my ideas down. I do plan on persuing this as a career and doing what I can to make enough money to provide for my family.

If I had my way, I wouldn''t work in the IT industry ever again.

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Well gang, I''m sure I''ve left some points out here somewhere, but I''m working on writing not being detailed. :) Again, if you have any friends or family whom you might think would be interested in my musings, feel free to get them to sign up or contact me. I still need to get past my problem #2 so I can get back to writing again.

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Take care my friends and remember Snow Means Slow!

Cheers,

Al