general complaints life work


I have 14 passwords that I use to access 7 networks, 6 email accounts, 2 chat clients, 2 bank accounts, 9 bill-paying sites, 2 blogs, 1 MMORPG, and 4 work-related sites: timesheet, payroll, hr, and training. And that’s not even counting all the dumb little websites I’m a member of.

Some of my passwords must be semi-secure: contain letters and numbers. Some must be secure: contain letters, numbers, and special characters. Some must be obnoxiously secure: contain upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and special characters, with no more than 3 of each type occuring in a row.

Some of my passwords must be changed on a regular basis. Of these, some cannot repeat the last 4 passwords. Some cannot repeat the last 8. And one cannot repeat the last 24 passwords. 24? Honestly. I guess that’s a super-secure system, seeing as no one will be able to log into it after 4 or 5 password changes because they won’t be able remember what they just changed their password to.

It is no wonder that I have trouble remembering my passwords! And not only remembering my passwords, but also remembering which password applies to what account. I was just trying to log in to one of my email accounts, and it kept telling me that my password was wrong. After 2 minutes of trying different passwords, I finally realized that I had typed in my username wrong. Because, well, I have 7 or 8 different usernames.

I am so ready for a retinal-scanning-thumb-print-taking login mechanism. I’d almost welcome a finger-pricking-blood-scanner. Couldn’t be much more painful than the current system.

hobbies technogeeky travel

star trek conventions

I’ve never been to a star trek convention. It’s been on my do-once-in-my-life list for years now. So, when my husband announced that the 40th anniversary star trek extravaganza was going to happen THIS YEAR, I decided it was time.

When I tell people I’m going to a star trek convention, they always ask if I’m going to dress up. No, I don’t plan on dressing up. I don’t own a star trek uniform. The star trek actors don’t even dress up for conventions. Of course, I could go in my pajamas, as it seems that everything that is worn in the Gene Roddenberry future resembles sleepwear.

When I agreed to go to the convention, I didn’t realize that it was four days long. Four days? Of total trek immersion? I must be out of my mind! What could you possibly do for four entire days? Well, according to the schedule, you can play bingo (star trek style), eat chocolate (star trek style), auction for charity (star trek style), wait in line for autographs (star trek style), wait in line for pictures (star trek style), watch improv (star trek style), dress up (star trek style – with the possibility of winning $1000 in the costume contest – maybe I’ll reconsider…), DESIGN A CENTERPIECE (star trek style), create a music video (star trek style), participate in talent contest (star trek style), write an essay (star trek style), drink champagne (star trek style), eat dinner (star trek style), eat dessert (star trek style), buy loads of crap (star trek style), wear a plastic wristband (star trek style), ride a fake roller coaster (star trek style) or watch a 3D movie (star trek style). Oh yeah, and listen to actual star trek actors speak.

Now, I’m a little confused about the star trek centerpiece contest. I don’t really recall any centerpieces from the shows, but I suppose that people in the Gene-iverse liked to decorate their tables. I’m a little intrigued to see what people come up with – perhaps something with silk flowers and a tiny warp core replica? Or a nice vase filled with marbles and fully-functioning posotronic brains? I, for one, would vote for anything with a likeness of Wesley Crusher.

One contest I do plan on entering, however, is the essay contest. The contest is in honor of Scotty and is limited to engineers. And, well, I’m sort of an engineer. Plus – I’m a totally awesome writer. I’ve worked with a lot of engineers (seeing as that’s what I do and all) and most of them can’t write. I so have this one in the bag.

So far, the list of convention guests is rather impressive. They’ve managed to snag all the captains, minus Picard (rumor has it he still has a career or something), and they have one of my favorites, Weyoun from DS9. My other DS9 favorite, Damar, has not appeared on the list yet, though they keep adding people, so I’m still hopeful I’ll get to see him.


Damar?, you may ask. Yes, Damar. Because he’s obscure, and also because he giggled when Worf killed Weyoun 18. I made my husband rewind it on the tivo so I could watch it again. So – Damar – please don’t disappoint me. I’ll even share my essay-winnings.


mac mini: adorable computing

Last week, after months of pining and deliberations, I finally broke down and ordered my mac mini. 2 inches of computing adorability. An entire computer, complete with dvd burner, 80 gig hard drive, and good enough graphics for me to get my WoW on. All in a 6 and a half inch square, 2 inches tall. (Check it out.)

So, I’m a windows person. Used to do me some win32 programming, even. So this whole mac thing is a little new – I haven’t touched an apple since my high school days. I’m really missing my ctrl-c type shortcuts, but I’m sure mac’s got their own little shortcuts. It’ll just be a matter of time before I discover them. I hope.

I love my new little speakers. (Click here to see them – Sony SRS-P11Q if the link doesn’t work.) They are intended to be portable speakers for an mp3 player, but I find they work quite nicely for my new little computer. I don’t know how good they really are, as I generally hate sounds coming from my computer, so I keep the sound turned down real low. Unless I’m playing WoW, then they get turned up to one notch above real low – cuz with no sound, you can’t tell when something is attacking you from behind till you’re half dead. And that’s never fun.

Did I mention the built-in wireless? Took a little finagling to get it to play nice with my home network, I ended up having to type in the hex wep password, but mac gives you the option of turning off the password dots when setting up network stuff, so you can actually see the hex mumbo-jumbo you typed and double check it.

Oh, and built in bluetooth. So you can use a bluetooth-wireless mouse and keyboard – which I would have done, but my husband has a wireless mouse, and he didn’t want me to interfere with his signal. But the wired set up isn’t so bad – especially when you have a tiny computer that can sit ON your desk and take up minimal space, so you don’t have wires stretched all over the place, trying to reach under the desk.

Plenty of USB ports. The keyboard takes one, but actually provides 2, so the mouse can plug right into the keyboard. The mighty mouse has a pretty short cord, so it’s not annoyingly bunched up or anything, being plugged into the keyboard and all.

Firewire. So my tiny little camcorder (ok, so I have a fetish for all things small) can plug right into the mac mini. And with iDVD, I can create DVDs from my camcorder tapes in one step. Granted, in one step, you can’t do anything fancy (like create clips or menus) but you can create a regular ol’ DVD player playable DVD. Of, like, say, your friends’ wedding. That you taped last June. And then promptly forgot about. And now that your friend is pregnant with twins, and wants to, uh, watch her own friggin’ wedding, so she told you to just give her the mini-DV tape and she’ll figure out how to watch it. So, in one easy step, you can slap the thing on a DVD, hand it over with the tape (so she can do something fancy with it later), and she can happily watch her wedding. On her tv. From a DVD.

The mighty mouse. An odd little invention – one seemingly solid piece of plastic on the top, with a little bitty roller ball on the top, about where you’d expect to find a scroll wheel. Which is precisely what the bitty roller ball does. Except, you can roll the roller ball sideways (for sideways scrolling) AND up and down. Genius. But the even stranger part: The mighty mouse knows when you left click, middle click, or right click. Even though its just one piece of plastic, no buttons. There’s even two low-side ‘buttons’ that don’t really depress, but it somehow knows you clicked them. They seem to only be configurable to one thing, so I’m not sure why there’s one on each side of the mouse – I guess maybe to make it left-hand friendly? Right now, I have it set so that if I press either of these pseudo buttons, it opens the application switcher (that thing alt-tab does in windows).

The verdict: I love it. It’s tiny. It’s cute. I can check my email. I can play WoW. I can make long overdue DVDs. It came with software for making comic books – I haven’t played with it yet, but I downloaded gimp so I can ‘cartoonize’ my wedding photos and turn them into a comic book, complete with WHAMS! and thought bubbles. I just went to (my kind of scrapbooking, no scissors involved) to see if they had a mac version of their bookmaker, and they have something even better: a mac plugin, that works right with mac’s iPhoto.

I still have a LOT to learn about the mac world. I mean, I’ve only had the mini in my possession for 26 hours, and I had to spend most of that time sleeping and then that pesky thing called work. I haven’t even figured out what half my applications are (I think I even got Quicken – which is like my favorite thing ever – for real). But I think it will be a fun journey. Plus – I totally have the cutest computer on the block.