Google Earth & Wuppertal, Germany

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I’m a fan of Google Earth. I’m currently identifying all the places I lived while I was on my mission and I’ll blog about that later. But something interesting happened a few days ago I thought I should write about.

My son, Thomas, was competing for my attention and wanted to sit on my lap while I was looking for where I lived in Celle, Germany. He wanted to see the Wuppertal monorail. Wuppertal, Germany is famous for their suspended monorail system of public transportation. It hangs from a track that is suspended on A-frame type structures that run above the Wuppertal river. Anyway, Thomas wanted to see the Wuppertal monorail. So I searched for “Wuppertal, Germany” and was shocked by what I saw.

The images of Wuppertal are the highest resolution images I’ve seen in Google Earth. You can see little twigs on trees and people walking around and garbage cans. It’s incredible. So I decided I would look for one of the monorail cars. I haven’t found one yet but I keep following the track looking for the shaddow of one of the trains. I’m sure I can find one somewhere on the track but I’ve not gotten lucky yet.

Anyway, I was just impressed at the resolution. If anyone finds a monorail please post the coordinates so I can see it. Or anything else of interest as well, please post it.

Spyware Troubles

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Last week someone at work managed to get infected by some program called Spy Sheriff or some such program. Anyway, it has been a royal pain the arse to get cleaned up. In fact, the first machine I just replaced with a fresh OS. But it managed to infect another computer on the network and get my SMTP gateway listed on an ORBS-like site. Bother.

So then I’m reading my eWeek magazine (issue April 10, 2006) and on page 14 there is an article titled “Mission Impossible?” In the article Mike Danseglio, program manager in the Security Solutions group at Microsoft, states that it’s better (read easier) to just reinstall Windows than to try and clean up the spyware, rootkits, and viruses. The article says “for some sophisticated forms of malware, [Danseglio] conceded that the cleanup process is “just way too hard,” given that self-healing malware can actually detect that users are trying to get rid of it and simply reinstall itself.”

Great. Just what system administrator’s like to hear.

At work I’ve had problems with temp employees installing all kinds of software like Limewire, Yahoo! Instant Messenger, eMule, and games–lots of games. I finally got tired of locking out rights and restricting logins and I installed Debian on those machines. My life is now much simpler because a) they don’t know how to install applications on Debian, b) they don’t have rights to do anything but what the application security allows them and c) well, I don’t know but it works.

One solution is to not allow anyone to have admin rights to their own computer. This gives a little more overhead on my department to type in a password anytime someone wants to install software, but it does keep applications from installing themselves and that’s a good thing.

I hate viruses/rootkits/spyware/malware. They are the poops.

Old People are Funny

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with my family at the Thanksgiving Point Gardens (which are fabulous, by the way. GoogleEarth N40 25 59.81 W111 54 38.13). For anyone visiting there take snacks, water, map and camera. The children’s garden is awesome and includes a hedge labyrinth. But I digress.

At the gardens were a group of elderly people being pushed around the gardens in wheelchairs. These people were, as I said, elderly and it looked like some had health issues. What cracked me up was that some of these people looked like hell. One of the ladies looked like she hadn’t combed her hair in a month and hadn’t bathed in that long either. But there she sat with a T-Shirt that said “God don’t mess with perfection.” It cracked me up.

There was another guy who had his entrance pass, which is a sticker, stuck to his forehead. Some passer-by mentioned to the wheelchair pusher that the fellow had the sticker on his forehead and the pusher said “I tried to stick it on with a tack but it fell off” to which the wheelchairee said “go to hell you G*d damn son of a b*tch!” I just kept waking and laughed and laughed and laughed.

I know another guy who is almost 70 and he wears a t-shirt that says “Older Than Dirt.”

I never thought about it before but I guess old people can wear whatever they want and when they cuss, it’s funny! I like old people.

The Adventures of Bill Parsons

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Exactly 10 years ago my wife’s grandfather, Emilio Martino, passed away. Erin and I had not been married very long, only about 6 months, when it happened and we flew down to Florida for the funeral.

It was a lovely service and when it came time for the pallbearers to take the casket out to the hearse my mother-in-law told me to get up there with the rest of the people. I was shocked, but ran up and did my duty in carrying the casket.

The reason I was so shocked was because my name was clearly not on the list. When I brought this up with my mother-in-law, sure enough, my name had been replaced with someone named Bill Parsons.

Now, my name has been changed or mispronounced my whole life. The most common forms are Nate Carlson, Nathan Larsen, Matt Karlsen. I’m very often a Nate (not that there is anything wrong with that, if that is your name). In fact, while I was in elementary school there was a boy one year older than I whose name as Matt Larson. I was always getting sent to the office for something that Matt had done. He even got an award for perfect attendance that was interned for myself but apparently, since they had engraved the wrong name on the plaque, they gave it to him instead.

So back to the funeral. Apparently what had happened is that my mother-in-law had written down my name as Wm. Nat Carson which became William N. Carsons, which became Bill Carsons which became Bill Parsons. It was hilarious.

But because I’ve always been called the wrong name I’m very sensitive to people’s names and I call them by their real name no matter how hard it is.

My sister, Mati, has always liked being called different names. One summer she told everyone her name was Julie while we were visiting the US from living in Germany. I won’t list her other names as I’m sure she would be upset–but she has a few and quite a few interesting stores to go with them.

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For the past few months I’ve received several requests to join a web site called LinkedIN. Up until today I just ignored them but then I decided to find out more about the company and what the website does.

Apparently is it an invitation-only social networking website. What’s surprising is that people can write endorsements about you (or you can write endorsements about them).

I’m going to try out the site, but if anyone else has any experience with it, please let me know.

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