Monday, February 28, 2011

Crazy Crazy Crazy Muammar!

I saw it on a sign by a woman protesting in Libya. Crazy crazy crazy Muammar...

Well he's gotten to be fairly delusional. He still thinks his people loves him. Most of his country is united against him. How does he not see it?

Someone I was reading was saying Gadafi is so used to "yes men" that it would seem ludicrous for him not to have the support. He is so out of touch, it's not even funny.

Let's hope he stops killing his own people and wakes up and smells the coffee.. because his days are numbered.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Viva la revolution!

It had to happen. The wave of demonstrations sweeping the middle east has spread to Lebanon.  Hundreds of Lebanese took to the streets on Sunday in Beirut to demand an end to the country's sectarian politics.

I don't know how much the movement will grow or how big of an impact it will have, but it's making my husband very happy. The main thing is that a non sectarian Lebanon will ensure that each citizen gets treated exactly the same, which is how it should be in any country. All citizens, male or female, from any religious background should be abiding by the same rules and be treated equally. I know this is over simplifying, but it has to start somewhere.

Elsewhere sadly Gadafi still holds on. It's like people will have to pry Libya out of his cold dead hands. The one place I don't expect to see much protests is the UAE. If there are any I bet it will be in Sharjah! I mean if it's the place to get lost, it's also the place to start protests :P

The wave of protests sweeping oppressed nations is amazing. It's even hit North Korea from what I've read. I just hope the end result is better for the people who are fighting for change!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ziva loves them all

Ziva gets along with all the boys.
Ziva seen with Pixie, wearing their yuletide collars

She likes to cuddle apparently.

Ziva and Spock spoon

And with Jethro:

Ziva and Jethro catnap on the couch

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What do you do with a friend...

I've remained close with one of my exes but from time to time it's painful. Tonight he obviously needed someone to talk to, but when he drinks he's an absolute ass. I listened to him for a long time not tell me what was really bothering him but rant about all sorts of irrelevant stuff, but it quickly turned towards him destroying me. After 30 minutes I was in tears and told him that I was willing to listen to him about his problems, but he cannot attack me like this because he's hurting or because he's in distress.

That I'm willing to listen to what's really bothering him but not willing to have yet another fight because he's a drunk ass.  That's when he started to cry and get all paranoid on me.

I mean how far should you go to help a friend? Is it really helpful if you let your friend destroy you each time they have a crisis? When is enough enough? And how does one break those pattern?

I do love him always have always will, but I cannot let him hurt me like this all the time. It was the main reason we are no longer significant others. The relationship was unhealthy for me, and presumably for him as well.

Now I'm sitting here still upset because I know he's hurting and I'm not being there for him. I wish I knew how to be there for him and not have to pay that price. I'm also sitting here upset because he said some nasty stuff and while I know it's the alcohol talking, it still gets to you after a while.

Gadafi still holds on.

I'm still in support of the people in Libya. Here's hoping they manage to get Gadafi out.  An article I read last night had me giggling. They were saying that the press find Gadafi's name problematic because there isn't one official way to write it in English. One article said 'Newspapers would rather write about Beiber because his name is easier to spell'.

One thing for sure, a co-worker just had to tell me about Justin Biebers new haircut and if it wasn't enough, I had to hear it on the Buzz this morning. Yes I was shocked that Pete Powers would discuss Justin Bieber, but there you have it.

I'm going to work well aware of the things important in the world! {Sarcasm off}

And King Abdullah of KSA is no longer like Schrodinger's cat, as he is alive and well and has just returned to Saudi Arabia. I wonder if the people will protest there too. The King and all possible replacements are all getting on with age.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sometimes I wonder about the people in Arizona.....

For some reason of late they've been passing strange and stupid laws. The one I read about today where they want to make sure women don't abort fetus' because of gender or race.

I didn't realize that Arizona was part of China, where there is a large preference for male infants and where for a long time, they were only allowed 1 child, so if it was female they would want to abort. As far as I know neither the US or the state of Arizona have restrictions on how many children someone has and really I seriously doubt there is hordes of women aborting specifically daughters.  I suspect the percentage of people who abort because they aren't getting the baby they want is very small. Less then 5%

I'm sure the majority of first term abortions are because women found themselves pregnant. They know little or nothing about the baby they are carrying and have been freaking out over the pregnancy since the day they were 'late'.  They aren't choosing a designer baby, they are choosing not to have a child at that point and nothing more. If statistics show more females then males are being aborted, perhaps they should find out how many of the people who aborted their baby even knew the gender of the baby.

As for race bias, well statistics sometimes don't mean much. It's easy to say, that in a town most of the abortions are of blacks or Hispanics, and that people are being racist. But if that town only has a black or Hispanic population, it makes total sense that most of the aborted fetus will be from those racial backgrounds.  I've never run across a woman who would abort her baby because it is from the same racial background as her.  I'm sure some exist but they certainly aren't very common.

 I'm not sure how this legislation in Arizona will work? Will you need to apply in front of a committee before you're allowed to have an abortion in Arizona, and will you need to get all sorts of needless tests done to prove that you aren't aborting for racial and gender reasons?  A percentage of women who abort find it is a tough decision to make..... they don't need more hurdles to cross to get an abortion in a timely fashion.  Because time is of the essence, it's the safest to abort in the first trimester.

I remember growing up in Quebec in the 70's where abortion was legal only if the life of the mother was in danger.  Those few hospitals who performed abortions had committees of at least 3 people, including doctors who would decide whether or not the application for an abortion had merit. Often if you were a teen, they would want your parents blessing, or if you were married you needed your husbands blessing. Basically few abortions ever got done. 

There was no point in applying for an abortion back then through the hospital. However there was the illegal Morgentaler clinic. You had to pay up front, but the service was really good. You were treated like a human being. No one judged you or tried to make you feel bad. You were treated like it was any other medical procedure, with the best medical care.  Not only did the clinic provide safe abortions but patients  are watched for complications before being sent home, and blood tests are done to see if medication is needed to prevent complications in future pregnancies.

I have to admit, that  Dr Henri Morgentaler is one of my hero's, as he helped make safe abortions accessible to all Canadian women.

This law which has not yet passed in Arizona scares me. Women should not have to justify why they don't want to carry a baby to term to committees.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I was so oblivious to the music coming from the other side of the partition.

There's a guy that sits right on the other side of the partition from my desk. I rarely see, him and of late I haven't even been hearing him. Since the woman he worked with changed departments and was replaced by a more easy going and compliant employee, he doesn't spend all day yelling and arguing. So today I noticed a few times some weird music coming across from the partition but I was so busy trying to debug what was wrong with my old xw6200, I didn't pay attention.

I found out later that in fact I was being exposed to Justin Bieber. Apparently the guy on the other side of my partition is in cahoots with the guy who put the Bieber music in my shared folder. It's rather silly actually. The first guy is obviously in misery since his kids like the music and he's stuck listening to it in the car when he drives his kids, so he's just sharing his pain of having to listen to Bieber.

You go people of Libya!

The unrest in the Arab world and north Africa has reached Morocco the last few days which is surprising some people as the economic situation in Morocco isn't as bad as other countries in the middle east. However Moroccans want change too apparently.

The country where the government is being the biggest asshole has to be Libya. I mean the army shooting with real bullets on mourners?  How to encourage more people to protest, fire on unarmed civilians that are burying their dead. 

You go people of Libya. I hope as a reward you will gain the right to an elected government, but no matter what happens not much can be worse then all those years of being ruled by Gaddafi!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Irish stew made with Moose meat.

Today I made Irish stew with moose meat. My buddy in Ottawa was given moose meat by a lawyer friend who represents a native tribe in some dispute with the federal government. I happen to visit while he had moose and I was given 1 pound.  I've never seem 'game meat' before. All the meat I've seen has been supermarket meat. It was nice to see meat that was red because it was oozing blood as opposed to meat that is red because it has food dye.

I loved the smell of the cooking meat when I browned it in oil before stewing it. It smelled a bit like beef, but not quite. The meat is rather lean in comparison of others meats I've seen.  The aroma of the stew filled our house and made hubby ask every 30 minutes if the stew was ready yet. Generally the stew is ready when the meat is falling apart and is in the process of becoming one with the sauce and vegetables. Until I see that, it needs to simmer. I'm really tempted to sample it. There are plenty of reasons why I shouldn't like I don't eat meat, I don't eat food cooked in alcohol and I stay away from gluten and there is wheat flour in the stew.

The consensus was the stew was awesome. Hubby had to have 2 large servings just to really get a real taste of how good it was :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What's on the menu this Saturday?

Despite the fact I hate cooking, I often cook on Saturdays. Today was no exception. I made hummus balila. It's a middle eastern dish I discovered and fell in love with in Lebanon. The literal translation means chickpeas in oil. So it's basically chickpeas seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil and spices.  Can be eaten cold like a salad and keeps well in the fridge.  I like to make it using the colourful chickpea mix from Clic, Hubby loves my hummus balila.

The second dish I made is an 8 bean salad, based on the popular 3 bean salad recipe you can easily find. I was looking to give it more flavour since it hardly had any seasoning or spices, and stumbled upon a version where they suggest to add a creole seasoning to give it tang. I decided instead to use a bit the Berbere spice I made 2 weeks ago when I made this hot and spicy Ethiopian lentil dish. I liked the result. Looking forward to hearing what hubby has to say about this salad.

The third dish I made was a form of gluten/casein free pasta dish. I had picked up some gluten free brown rice and spinach spaghetti at Rainbow Foods in Ottawa, and decided to cook it today. As sauce I used a 4 ounce can of tomato sauce, about 1/4 cup of grated of  each Kashkaval cheese and goat mozzarella [that can be found at Loblaws]. a teaspoon of each garlic and onion flakes, and 1/8 of a cup of each black and green sliced olives. It was incredibly good. I just ate half of it.

Later today or tomorrow I'm also making Irish stew, this time with moose meat.  I've made it before with beef, or lamb or goat. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out with moose. Hubby might not believe in moose since he's never seen one but he will be eating moose :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Not impressed with the new mailboxes from Canada Post

Ugly new Mailboxes from Canada Post
Every day on my way to work I take Anselme Lavigne and drive in front of Ecole Dollard des Ormeaux.  I noticed a week or two ago that the mailbox in front of the school had been vandalized in some way, there was a large gaping hole in it.

This week I notice the mailbox in front of the school again and to me it looked like it had been vandalized again because instead of being all red, it looked like it had all sorts of graffiti on it.

I did some research a few minutes ago and as it turns out this is the new mailbox design from Canada post. Not impressed. From a distance it looks vandalized like it has graffiti.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Women don't ask to be raped

I can't believe that a police officer said at a safety and security forum at Osgoode Hall Law School “I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this, however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

The first thing it does is make victims feel like they were responsible for being raped.  The whole comment "not dressing like sluts" for starters is so subjective. In some countries unless a woman's skin is completely covered and she is wearing loose opaque clothing, she's considered a slut. On the other side of the coin you can go to a beach in brazil or in Europe with nothing but a thong and that's not considered slutty. And you have every dress style in between.

I remember back in the earlier 90's the loser I dated for about 1 1/2  years decided to judge the way I was dressed. He asked me if I was going to work like that. I was wearing a skirt that was maybe 2" above my knee. He commented that if he was my boss he would send me home to get changed . That what I was wearing was completely inappropriate and would be very distracting to male employees.

For starters, if a male cannot do his job in the presence of a female then he's the one with the problem. The second  argument I had for this loser, was that since he found long flowing skirts more sexy then short skirts because it leaves to the imagination, then by his reasoning his female employees could not wear short or long skirts. Then of course there are women who wear slacks, or jeans. Plenty of men find women in pants sexy, so women can't wear those to work either.

So basically he was telling me that because I was female I should stay home and out of sight so that I was not distracting to men.  Funny argument for a kept man. I was the one with the job, he stayed home full time. I told him that if he wanted to continue dating me he was not to comment on the way I dressed for work in the future.

Especially considering I work for a company that has no dress code, and where one of the two owners wears Bermuda's, polo shirts and flip flops in the summer. In the 18 years I've worked there I've seen the man in a suit exactly once. It was also the only time I saw him wearing a shirt and tie. Normally he wears khaki's or jeans in the winter.

I still can't believe in this day and age in a country like Canada where woman's equality is guaranteed under the charter of rights, that people in law enforcement would still make such stupid comments.  I mean how does this guy explain when 80 year old grandma gets raped? "Sorry grandma you didn't cover those varicose veins and sagging breasts enough. You were asking for it".  I mean people never say that to males who get raped, that it wouldn't happen if he had dressed differently. It's scary to have a police officer who still believes this misconception.

How does this officer explain the fact that rapes are just as frequent in societies where women are completely covered?   I mean it's easy to constantly blame the victim. 

Rape is not about sex. It is about power, control and humiliation. Women of all ages have been raped and there is no conclusive evidence to suggest  any type of dress or behaviour would have made it more likely to have happened.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Leave it to Bieber....

I made a comment on Facebook about my over-exposure to Bieber and a co-worker saw it and put the Justin Bieber movie in my shared folder. I noticed the folder before I left for home today. 

What not to do when applying for an internship

I was at work today and my phone rings, and it's an outside call. It's not a number I recognize. I answer and on the other end of the line there's a student from one of the universities where my internship was posted.

He tells me that he's supposed to be interviewing with me but he can't get his appointment confirmed. I tell him that he needs to call our HR department, that I cannot confirm any appointments. He tells me that the HR department isn't moving fast enough and he needs an answer now. I re-iterate that he needs to talk to one of the people in our human resources department.  He argues again that he needs an answer, I give him the number to the woman who was in HR today and hung up.

Even if I wanted to I cannot confirm my interviews myself. Until they provide me a complete schedule I do not know my own availabilities. It's HR who schedules the interviews and also knows what interviews are planned but not yet confirmed. I know nothing of this.

I called HR to advise them of what happened and that when he called to confirm his appointment that he should be told his interview was canceled and he should be told why.  The HR lady, who's a total sweetheart understood too. She said "You don't want this student because when you assign him work and show him what you expect, he'll be cutting it in half because it took too long".

Sometimes the bureaucracy of a company is painful but without it, chaos would ensue.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Just all Biebered out....

This too shall pass, the fact that I'm getting way too much exposure to Justin Bieber. Not by choice of course.

First it was last week on Saturday Night Live, or maybe the week before. I was looking at it to watch Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, and apparently there was Bieber.

Then I read that this week's CSI episode has as guest star, Justin Bieber.

The most positive thing is, I have no idea what his music or songs sound like. As far as I know I've never heard sing and I want to keep it that way!

The Middle-East keeps bubbling

First it was Tunisia who's wave of protests started change, next it was Egypt, Mubarak finally stepped down. 

Who will it be next? This has been the fifth day of protests in Yemen. There's Algeria who's people have taken to the streets. There are protests planned for Bahrain, Iran, Libya, Morocco, Cameroon, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.  There's troubles brewing in Jordan and Syria too. Lebanon stays forever volatile. That rarely seems to change, things there go from simmering to bubbling depending on the season it seems.

I can't help but wonder if the winds of change that are blowing will make a real difference for the people who are living in poverty ruled by a despot. I hope it translates into some form of democracy. I'm aware that what might be right for those countries might not be what the West wants, but hopefully it will be good for the locals. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines day

Was a weird day for me. I rushed in this morning as I had interviews scheduled from 9am straight till lunch. The guy who "overcomes obstacles and achieves greatness" was the first guy I interviewed and no I didn't comment on his resume. Never found the time or inclination. 

I was 5 minutes late due to the snow and rushing to get inside the building and I noticed an envelope in the snow, and figured it was nothing much but ended up kicking it and noticed the shade of red inside the envelope which lead me to think it might have a $50 CAD in it.  So I picked up the envelope and realized it had 4 x 50 CAD. I gave it to the security guard at the reception when I came in and my gut was telling me it belonged to one of my employees so I mentioned it in passing to my gf who works in my department and was overheard by another employee who described the envelope and the number of $50 bills. I told him to claim it from security. By that time, the security guard had given it to his boss, who left it with one of the women from HR. 

So when I came back to reception to pick my "WOW" student to interview him, I was thanked by the head of security who felt he had to do it personally as well as telling me I'm honest. [Yes too honest sometimes].  The woman in HR left me a very nice voice mail thanking me as well, with a comment about Karma. My employee must have thanked me a dozen times, to the point where he was apologizing for thanking me.

There have been Valentines days where I feel I don't exist. It was not the case this day. Today I got 2 bouquets of flowers. One from my ex, which he gave me today but was for my birthday in December [which he missed completely] and the other was from my hubby. 

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

They like to sleep in cardboard boxes

In my room and my studio there are boxes with a dollar store pet blanket and there's most often a cat sleeping in them. For some reason my cats really like to sleep in cardboard boxes.

Ziva napping

Big cat, loves small boxes.    

What now?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I always enjoy La Maison Simons

cotton top
I enjoy shopping at La Maison Simons. I like the fact that this store has an outlet at Carrefour Laval. For some reason one of the things I learned after traveling to Dubai in 2007, is that Le Carrefour Laval is the biggest mall  in Quebec.

I picked up 2 sets of blue flannel kitty sheets at Simons.

I also got a few items of clothes for myself. They already had some summer items out, including some sundresses, and this model of flowery cotton only had 1 small left and it fit really nicely, so it came home with me despite the fact I won't be able to wear it until May.

Sundress with Cardigan

I also got a white cotton cardigan sweater which complements the dress nicely. The last item I picked up is a cotton Indian type top very reminiscent tops I wore when I was in my late teens. All the items are either Twik, Simons home brand or other exclusivity.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Is King Abdullah of KSA like Schrödinger's cat???

That was the question that went through my mind this morning.  Currently the news media make him both alive and dead at the same time. This reminds me too much of the Schrödinger's cat paradox which I had to explain at work this week on the day I wore my Tshirt from Think-Geek. You would think at a company filled with engineers that they would know the paradox.. but I digress

Considering that the King of Saudi Arabia is 85, and has just had various surgeries in the US, it could be he is dead. It would not be far fetched at all. Fact the official Saudi government is denying it and saying the King is in "Excellent health" makes me suspicious. Currently if they announce Kings death it could lead the country to go into turmoil like Egypt so they don't want that. 

So King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is like in a box in Morroco and until someone opens the box, he could be dead or alive at the same time, much like Schrödinger's cat.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Eyefinity 6 - Not User friendly - the continuation

I got to understand the Eyefinity 6 a bit better today. If I had used 6 Displayport LCD's I would not have had the issue I ran into when using 6 DVI LCD's. As it went I ended using 2 Displayport LCD's, and 4 DVI. I had to use my Bizlink Dual-Link to displayport  active adapters on 2 of the heads to get them going.  I originally tried my Apple DL to mini displayport adapters  since those are also active and while they lit the monitors in windows, they were enabled at 640x480 and no other mode was available. Overall M-series displayport products work with most adapters out there. They ship with Bizlink adapters because they overall worked the best with the product and they don't officially support anything else, but they work with all the apple adapters, though the analog apple adapter is bitchy in my opinion. You're better off with monoprice then apple any day.

On M9188 we can use adapters that are 'passive' I guess. At least single link DVI to displayport. The Analog to displayport have to be active since they have to convert digital signal from card to analog and the Dual link DVI to displayport is active.  I just found an article that kind explains/highlights the problems I was having with the Eyefinity. Slowly I am adding displayport monitors in my team. Most of my employees have anywhere between 4 and 8 displayport LCD's at this point. The bBench where I happened to setup the Eyefinity has no displayport LCD's. I had to put 10ft cables on 2 on the bench next to it.  The bench where I test 16 heads has 16 LCD's all DVI/Analog and nothing else.

Connections problems aside their interface to configure monitors in windows is non-intuitive. Instead of helping client make a desktop it lets mostly Windows arrange monitors. So while you boot on the first/second head of the card, these became heads 5 & 6 in windows and then the  monitor layout I got in the only 6 headed stretch mode offered was just strange. I'll have to play with it some more, but I find it hard to configure. The Powerdesk interface to configure one or two M9188 is quite friendly and reasonably intuitive.  I've never had newbies using it who have a hard time using the interface to get where they want to be.  The questions I get usually are on the stranger features for niche markets, like edge overlap.

The Eyefinity offers a limited number of configurations with their 6 heads. The merge options are 2x1, 1x2, 3x1, 4x1, 2x2 and 3x2 and then I believe the choice of modes for those configs are also limited. I only had 3 resolution choices with the 3x2 .

With a M9188, you can do just about every permutation of a rectangular/square shape that windows supports with 8 heads. So things like 2x1, 1x2, 3x1, 1x3, 1x4, 2x2, 4x1, 1x5, 5x1, 6x1, 3x2, 2x3, 1x6, 7x1,1x7, 8x1, 4x2, 2x4, 1x8 can all be done with our interface. additionally I could do 2 x 2x2's or 2 x 4x1's or 1x4's or even a 2x2 plus 2 independent displays plus 2 displays cloned if that was the layout I wanted.  We also offer standard resolutions which most monitors support today, as well as all the resolutions supported by the monitors connected.

So assuming I'm using 1680x1050 monitors for each of those layouts listed above I will have a minimum of 8 resolutions offered for those layouts and I can mix and match. Well stretched surfaces all have to be of the same resolution, but if I had a stretched surface it could be a different resolution then independent surfaces and clone surfaces.  As well if you have 2 M9188's you can do the same types of configs up to 16 heads. Including setups like 3x3, 4x3, 3x4, 5x3, 3x5 and 4x4. Additionally if you cabled your 4x4 wall all wrong you can just move the display for it to work in your layout without having to recable it.  There is flexibility as to where which input of the card is in comparison to the other. 

This is probably not the last time I rant about the Eyefinity 6, I'll get a chance to play with it some more and see if there is anything I like about it. I suppose it might be fun to game on it in 6 heads. I'm so outside the gaming loop I would have no idea what game would use it.

The one thing the other co-worker who tried the Eyefinity 6 before me did was to try it with several Triple heads to go displayport edition. Sadly he wasn't able to find 6 to try to get 18 heads, but he thinks it's doable :) That's just cool. I would have no use for the config, but I love that it can be done.

Disclaimer: The opinions on hardware/software on this blog and the other related to the Eyefinity are mine alone and not related to the company I work for.

To see my later rant on the EyeFinity 6 click here.

EyeFinity 6 - not very user friendly.

We got the Eyefinity 6  a couple of months ago, after waiting for it for close to 4 months. Originally the purchaser just saw ATI HD 5870 and not additionally the  Eyefinity 6, so we ended up with a Matrix 3. That had to be sent back and the right one ordered. When it arrived I tried to use it in a couple of my systems but they didn't have enough power to handle it. I had a co-worker test it in his system to ensure it was functional, and was too busy to try it out until now.  We had purchased a 750W power supply for a team member and never put it in a system, so I put it in the GA-EX58-Extreme with 12Gb that I use most often to test 16 monitor configs. We even changed the casing, because I was having issues putting a pair of M9188's  into the system and I figured I might want to put 2 Eyefinity's so I can use it to compare to the 2 M9188's. Compare is a big word. I'm not comparing performance but seeing how certain things behave in Windows.

Generally I know more about multiple monitor behaviours in Windows then most people, with the exception of the engineers I work/ed with. I know it from NT 4.0 to Windows 7...  But there are issues I've stumbled across in our WDDM drivers in 'stretched' desktop that I have no basis in comparison with anything else out there in the field.

To get back to the EyeFinity, I put it in a Dell T7500. It was the only free system I could think of that could handle the power hungry requirements of this card and it's size. I used the same displayport to minidisplayport adapters I use on the M9188 and the same DVI to displayport adapters since I was using all DVI LCD's.  Part of the reason for this is that the Eyefinity 6 comes with 5 adapters. So I figured I'd just use the ones we use. They are pretty standard, or so I thought. They have worked on other displayport ATI and Nvidia products.  

I installed drivers and for the life of me I could not enable more then 2 heads at a time.  I tried more then one driver package. I looked for threads talking about it.  I just found something about passive and active adapters so I think that's my problem. I may not have had that problem had I used the adapters it came with I suppose but the fact it came with 5 when I want to connect 6 already means I need to use at least one other. They provide 2 mini displayport to displayport , 2 DVI to mini displayport and 1 HDMI to mini displayport. So unless you have those exact connections, you have to go out and buy adapters. Does not make it an intuitive product. 

The M9188 comes with 8 mini DP to DP adapters and 8 DVI to displayport adapters. When you connect them to whatever LCD you have they work. The M9188 is NOT power-hungry. If you had 4 PCIe x16 slots like in a Dell T7500, and there were drivers that supported it you could put 4 x M9188 and it would boot.  You don't even need extra power connectors. You'd have 32 heads. But I digress.

I'll continue my experiences with the EyeFinity 6 later today.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Ziva the Diva...

I just love this picture of a sleeping kitten. 

Aren't her toes the cutest.

In this one she looks like a Gremlin :) 

I pwn you!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

What not to put in a resume when applying for an internship - Part II

Talking about cover letters, when you write one of those, it's to highlight your qualities. Not to write about the company you're applying to. When I look at cover letters that say "I can't wait to work for your company and then they ramble on about the company for a full paragraph." I lose interest. More so when they quote directly either from our website or even the job posting.  I know all about the company I work for,  it's the person who's applying I want to read about.

Another no-no. Our company has several divisions. When apply for a job in my division don't ramble on in your cover letter about the other division and same thing during the interview. The only impression I'm going to get is that you want to work in the other division. So I won't hire you.  I remember one interview years ago, where I was explaining to a candidate what we do, and how we test graphics cards and after I was done I asked him if he had any questions, and he asks "Can I test network cards instead?"

The CV itself especially for a university student applying for an internship should not be more then 2 pages, If you've had that many jobs, the least important ones, should be reduced to one sentence. No one needs a full paragraph on a 2 month job you had at age 16. If the interviewer wants to know more about that job, after reading the date and job title, he will ask you. Using a bigger font to make your CV appear like it has more substance doesn't fool anyone either.

Look at it from a different perspective. Sometimes a manager might get a pile of 200 resumes to go through in a day or 2. There's no time to read everything you skim read. The CV's that are more difficult to read because of font size, formatting, layout or presentation definitely end up in the reject pile at that point to reduce the number of applicants to a manageable size.

One of the worst CV's I saw in this batch had to be the kid who other then stating his name, address, 2 email addresses,  fact he's graduating this April, only listed 6 notable classes he took in his bachelors program and their descriptions.  A brochure from the university would have been just as about as informative. It doesn't tell me anything specific about the candidate.

One of the funniest things I've seen on a resume in a long time has to be the kid who plays WOW. I mean if he said he was playing WOW and nothing else, that would be fine. It's what he says. "Work with guild of over 100 members to overcome many obstacles and achieve greatness".

I kid you not.

From the guild we know it's Alliance. We're considering joking with him at the interview, and saying "Sorry man, we only hire Horde players". Or "Sorry man, your gearscore is too low for this position".

One had a section on his CV called a "Key word index", under which he had [I'm presuming his] qualities written with no structure or text formatting.  I could also go on about bad formatting but that could be partly because all the resumes get collected and sometimes get submitted it one large word document by the University who submits it to our HR dept. Then there's the ones where you have to print them from the website, and the formatting there can be off and I can't tell if it's the fault of the website or applicant.

Monday, February 07, 2011

What not to put in a resume when applying for an internship - Part I

My department hires engineering interns from universities around Montreal, and we've been known sometimes to get students from universities in Sherbrooke, Quebec City and Ottawa. Since the jobs in my department are technician jobs rather then engineering jobs, I have found that first and second year COOP students looking for a first internship are the best choice.

I'm not sure if it's a sign of the times but I had twice the amount of 3rd & 4rth year students applying for these very "junior" positions especially from schools without COOP programs.I tend to weed those out because I've found over the years a percentage of students close to graduation feel that their skills are underutilized in my department and somehow think after they were hired for one job that we could give them something more interesting to do. When we tell them this is the job they are stuck with for 4 months, that's when the productivity goes way way down.

To avoid having unmotivated students, I tend to chose the most inexperienced. Those who have not had an opportunity to work in the computer or electronics field are my first choices. They are the ones who appreciate the opportunity to work with us the most. In return they are the ones who stand to gain the most from working with us.

I generally judge the candidate on their personality rather then on their experience. I like to choose those who are willing to learn and do any task assigned to them and do it well. Someone who's work I can trust, who won't lie about the work they did or ignore problems to finish on time. When I interview I like honest answers. I do ask questions about PC's and the windows environment to gauge the level of skills because while all the positions are junior some are more junior then others. If someone doesn't know the answer I expect an I don't know. Not some bullshit answer to try to hide the fact that they don't know. I do quality assurance I can't hire someone who will lie about the quality of the product.

When I get a pile of CV's the first thing I do is check the GPA's. Unless the student has either 2.6/4.0 or 2.9/4.3 minimum GPA I can't hire them. [I don't agree with this policy but I can't fight it either]  The next step I check if they are first or second year.  

Out of 32 received CV's from one university, I had 10 left after this filtering.  I also filtered out the guy who used such a funky font that it was unreadable for me. Here's a tip, when writing a CV use a common font like ariel, or times new roman and never smaller then a 10 point. They aren't pretty fonts but they print nice from any word processor on any PC.   

There was the guy who addressed his CV to a company other then ours in his cover letter. That's a pretty big no-no especially for a QA job. If you're spacey by nature, best not to mention any company and make your cover letter a bit more general.

...will continue tomorrow. 

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Rice with Lentil stew

Today I made some plain brown rice and an Ethiopian spicy lentil stew.  I mixed 2 recipes together. I wanted the spice mix from the Ethiopian version and the vegetables from a non spicy version. I like my lentils cooked with celery, carrots, onions and garlic. 

As for the type of lentils I used a split lentil mix, which I believe also includes green and yellow split peas. I also added 2 cubanelle peppers and a couple of sun dried tomatoes.  I was afraid between the Berbere spice mix and the 2  peppers that the stew would be too hot for me, but it came out perfect. It's hot, but not enough to make my nose sweat.

I'm not surprised I like how spicy my stew turned out, it had black pepper, cayenne pepper and cubanelle peppers.  I don't find cubanelle or jalapeños peppers that hot. I suppose with time I'll get to know which peppers are the best for making food spicy. 

My 1974 Toro 724 SnowThrower still rocks

We got about 20 cm of snow overnight, wet heavy snow. Since hubby is forbidden by me to do anything straining because I want him to heal properly from surgery, I figured I'd take out the beast since I knew I couldn't handle the volume of shovelling needing to be done. 

I can't complain about the service I'm getting from SylJack, the truck came around 2ish and since it was the first time in a week the driveway was completely free of cars, the driver did 4 passes on my driveway. I just had to clear the path to the house, the path to the back of the house and access to the back door. It couldn't be opened. One should always clear all doors from snow even if it's just enough to open the door.

Toro 724 Snow Thrower  - Model 31677 from 1974
Last fall I got the old Toro Snow-thrower fixed at the insistence of my hubby who figured he'd like to try this cold weather device.  My ex kinda laughed at me saying if I hadn't used the machine in 10 years what were the odds it would work? Well it's a machine. Unless you can't find parts, generally you should be able to get it going again. When we picked it up from the repair shop I asked the guy what he thought of the machine. He said to me "Hold on to it, this thing will outlive any current snowblower". Mentioned that the ones at Costco were made out of "Nylon", or another way to say plastic and cost nearly $1000. It cost me around $150 to get the beast working again. 

I used it today for the first time since 1993.  It's like riding a bike, one never forgets how to use a snow blower. This thing weighs over 200lbs, so more then twice my weight. So I've always had fun manoeuvring it, and getting it started. I'm too short to be able to pull the cord at my height. I have to stand on a milk crate to get it started.  Sadly today in an effort to get it started for the nth time, I accidentally yanked off a cable. I wondered if the machine would still work. It did. But the problem was getting it to stop... It wouldn't until it ran out of gasoline..  I found the manual for it at Toro with the serial number.  The model is actually a 31677 and the serial number starting with 4 tells me it's the one from 1974. Obviously it's indestructible.

When I was searching to find manuals I found a thread where someone was asking if it was worth buying it and I feel it is. It will cost less to buy it, get it fixed at a repair shop then buying a new one and it will last longer. Of course if you know how to fix these types of engines yourself, then it's definitely worth it.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

It's Caturday!

 It was amazing to watch such a large cat be so sweet and tender and mother the kittens. This photo was taken a couple of days after we got Ziva, when she was just 2 months old.

Ziva at 2 months old sleeping next to Jethro.

This photo below was taken when Jethro was about one, and the youngest cat in the house. I had just gotten for the cats this fountain water bowl. Pixie and Zeke took to drinking from it right away. Jethro spent more time soaking his feet in it.

How can you drink with his stinky feet in the water?

Elizabethan collar anyone?

Jethro had a bit of a cold about a year ago and he had runny nose and eyes. He rubbed his eye so much it got infected. The only way to prevent himself from rubbing his eye was to put an Elizabethan collar on him. I spent a week treating his eye while he wore the collar. First I'd wash it with a solution of baby's shampoo and water, then I'd put a drop of Polysporin antibiotic drops for eye/ears, and of course make sure to soak off any run off from his eye.  He was incredibly sweet tempered for a collared cat with a sore eye. He'd come when I'd call him to treat his eye, and just let me handle him. As if he knew I was doing it for his own good.

Jethro playing with a toy despite having an Elizabethan collar.

I find bristol board works best to make a collar. It's supple and light weight enough. You can make it to the size of cat that needs it. Start with a bigger collar and trim it down to the perfect fit. I use a plate to make a circle.  One I cut out head form I staple both ends after putting it around cats neck.

Taking a break from playing.

I ended up putting a collar on Ziva after she was fixed. I remember waking up the morning after her surgery to noises that sounded like someone plucking on a guitar. It was Ziva pulling on her stitches. I knew with her determination the best thing I could do to let her heal properly was to collar her. So I did. She was pissed off at me the first day, but I kept the collar on her until she was healed enough she couldn't hurt herself anymore. Probably 8 days.

I'm not enjoying this contraption you put on me.

Friday, February 04, 2011

More about Lebanon and protests

I mentioned a few postings ago  how even the Lebanese are protesting to have their economic concerns addressed. It's not hard to understand that they would if you spend any amount of time living there.  

My understanding seeing it from the outside, is that the people are fed up that so much energy is expended figuring out which party represents what and is allied with who and all this political posturing all the while pocketing the money that belongs to the people and nothing gets done about ruling the country and making things work again. 

I get that the country has gone through various forms of war and military actions that have left some of the infrastructure in horrible state. But it's far worse then it should be if they actually spent the time and money to fix it instead of fighting over who should do what and how and when,.

I can't remember if it was on Facebook or on blogger that I mentioned that cooking in Beirut poses some interesting challenges. As far as I can remember, every time I've visited Beirut there were rotating electrical cuts. Generally 3 hours a day that means there is no electricity at my mom-in-law's house. My understanding is that in less populated areas, you might be without electricity 6 hours a day. Generally on a rotating schedule. It also means that you can't keep food half as long as you can in a place where the fridge stays constantly cold. 

There's also no water provided by the city at my mom-in-law's building. The water that comes into the house is brought in by cistern. And if there is no electricity when the water arrives, you have to wait 3 hours before it can be pumped up into your container on the roof.  It also means this is not drinkable water, so you have to buy your  drinking water and lug it home.Even those homes in some parts of Beirut that do get their water from the city, still must buy their drinking water.

As a Montrealer I take having electricity and drinking water for granted.  Sure we have electrical black outs, generally following storms, whether it's rain, ice, snow and/or wind but otherwise our electricity is pretty stable. As well the drinking water is pretty drinkable . Of course using a Brita filter improves the taste, but you don't get sick drinking Montreal water. My hubby who would not drink anything other then bottled water and not even make tea without using bottled water will drink Montreal tap water. 

Then there's the salaries and the infrequency at which people are payed. You get paid on a monthly basis but sometimes you won't get payed for 2 months. Makes it kinda hard to make ends meet especially when you are living from paycheck to paycheck.

People complain about the roads in Quebec.. you should see the roads in Lebanon. The one thing I won't complain about is overall Beirut is quite clean as a Middle-Eastern metropolis. However some areas outside the bigger urban centers are nasty so is the shoreline in some areas.  The pollution can be pretty bad. They still have really old cars on the road. There's also no really good public transport, which means there are far more cars on the road then there could be. No train system either.

I could go on and on and on about all the things that need to be addressed.....

On the other side of the coin I have nothing but profound admiration for the Lebanese in general. Most I have run across are ingenious and resourceful, generally friendly, warm  and passionate people. Sure sometimes that hides a darker side where they pull a fast one on you [most Lebanese will tell you never to trust a Lebanese, but I can safely say there are just as many you can trust!] but then there are black sheep in any group! 

I'm hoping their new leader Mr. Mikati will address some of the more pressing issues, but as with every political change in Lebanon, one must wait and see. 

On m'appelait toujours vendu

Comme je le dis dans mon profile je suis une Québécoise. Je suis née à Montréal, et j'ai grandi à Montréal-Nord et Rivière-des-Praires.  Le français est ma langue maternelle. Ma mère, enseignante au primaire, avait décide que j’apprendrai l'anglais très jeune pour me facilite la vie. Elle m'a appris les concepts de base a 3 ans, et m'a mis à l’école anglaise à partir de la maternelle.

Les cours de français langue seconde pendant que j’étais à l’école, de '67 à '79 n’étais pas suffisant pour même m'apprendre à écrire convenablement.  Je communique bien oralement mais par écris, c'est pas les gros chars! Avec un bon correcteur orthographique je me débrouille, mais cela ne corrige pas mes fautes de grammaire. Je préfère écrire en anglais maintenant car c'est plus facile.

On m'appelait vendu quand j’étais petite dans mon cartier car j’étais la seule francophone qui allait à l’école anglaise. Rendu a 18 ans, on me trouvait bien chanceuse de pouvoir communiquer si aisément en anglais. 

Pour ma part, j'ai appris à mes filles le français en premier, et l'anglais a 3 ans. Au primaire je l'ai ai mise dans un  programme d'immersion française dans une école anglaise. Au secondaire elles on suivi le programme de baccalauréat internationale . C'est ce qui ce rapproche le plus de l'enseignement bilingue dans les écoles publiques.

Je trouve dommage que toutes les écoles au Canada ne soit pas bilingues. Ce serait génial si tous les Canadiens apprenait autant le français que l'anglais à l’école. J'ai le droits a mes rêves :) 

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Slip-streaming done finally

I finally got around to slip streaming my AHCI, RAID and SAS drivers into both my Server 2003 32 & 64 bits and my Server 2003 R2 32 & 64 bits.

It took me 2 tries for both Server 2003, I must have been distracted. But when I got to the R2, I got those working on the first shot. I've burned CD's and have installed Server 2003 R2 on my Intel DX58SO system and made the images for all the other OS' available to the rest of the team.

Hopefully I won't have to redo them any time soon. I mean it took 3 tries for XPSP2, 2 tries for XP64SP2, 2 tries for  each of Server 2003 32 & 64 bits. Lots of time I could have used to do something more exciting :)

Sick again - Hospitals SUCK!!!!

The last 2 times I took hubby to the Montreal General Hospital for his surgeries I got sick. Last time was December 8th, which was the day after a snow storm. The hospital parking was full and there was nothing on the side streets. I ended up dropping him off, then going around in circles for 20 minutes before a spot with parking meter freed itself. Of course by then I couldn't remember what floor he was on, so ended up trying out 6 different floors to find him. Not surprising I touched elevators and doors, so I caught a stomach flu. Heck it was barely 4 hours after we got back from hospital when I had projectile vomit happening.  I was at my therapists, I had to ask hubby to take me home. First time I was too sick to make it home by myself  since I was a kid.

I took him on Monday for another appointment. This time we could park in the hospital parking lot and I was super careful. I must have washed my hands 3 times and used that hand sanitizer they have everywhere in the Hospital a dozen times. Enough that my hands were burning on the way home. I'm sensitive to alcohol and I rarely ever use hand sanitizers. But I figured better safe then sorry. Apparently it wasn't enough. Somehow I'm sick again 3 days after the appointment. I had a co-worker tell me yesterday I sounded like I had a bad cold. Today my eyes are tearing, my nose is leaking and I feel like crap.

Next time I think I'm going to wear a friggen mask. I mean I usually have a decent immune system, like wtf?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Is that a grapefruit in your pocket?

Everything goes better with a grapefruit.

A pair of cats, a USB drive and a grapefruit!

At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I spice cat.

More cats....

This one is really cute. 

Do you mind? We're kind of busy here......

They always love hanging out in my old wooden step ladder. I suspect they use it to play "King of the Mountain".

Spock on top, Ziva in middle and Jethro towards the bottom.

My work is keeping me in shape of late

I work for a hardware vendor testing the hardware mostly in Windows environments on a variety of machines,usually HP's, Dell's and Lenovo's but also clone machines mostly built from Asus, Gigabyte and Intel motherboards. I work in software quality assurance but what I do is closer to qualifying hardware.  

Since I test software on new hardware, I'd say for every product we've made, I've found 1-2 hardware bugs that had not been seen by those who qualified it before me. In general my team will probably find 4-5 hardware bugs that were missed by ASIC and hardware. Not because they are incompetent, or not thorough enough but because testing in real environments may bring up problems that don't appear in simulations. As well the products are tried out in far more systems and LCD's when they hit my department.

Lately I've been helping the hardware quality assurance team do compatibility instead of focusing on testing interfaces. I volunteered to do it.  I like the variety it provides, where I can spend less time on software and more time on hardware, It's helpful too because I can help my team with configuration issues. I liken it to trail-blazing. I tend to discover new hardware and then pass the knowledge to others.

So in the past 2 weeks I've probably tested close to  30 different OEM systems to ensure they worked properly with our product, and also to find what the 'sweet slots' for each individual machine are. They were all HP and Dells because currently the Lenovo BIOS does not work with our product and until they work with us to find a solution, my testing is limited to the other 2 large vendors. 

The systems I've tried out includes the following HP's: xw4400, xw4550, xw4600, xw6400, xw6600, xw8400, xw8600, xw9300, xw9400, z400, z600, z800, & ML110-G5. The dells include:  The Precision 490, 690, T1500, T3400, T3500, T5400, T5500, T7400, T7500, Optiplex 960, Optiplex 980 & the Dimension 9200c.  The sad part is, I now know how many PCIe slots each has, what they are both mechanically and electrically, and which slots work best with our products. Now I have to take all this data, and make a document that will be used in the future by our tech support and sales department

My testing of all those systems also includes lugging those beasts back to my workbench.  The biggest of them all, the T7400/7500/690 from Dell, weighing in at 55lbs, I stick to lifting, and putting on a cart. Pretty much all others which probably vary between 20lbs-45lbs I will carry around the department, from the shelf where they sit in HQA or from one of the people in my team with the system. 

Now I'm about 105lbs these days, so I've been spending half of my time telling the guys I work with that I can lift and carry these machines myself. It's sweet that they all want to help, but with my osteoporosis, I'm supposed to do weight bearing exercises, this works great. In one day I might move 4 systems, for about 5 minutes each. It's perfect for me.