Welcome to 2011

Problem: Cisco's ASA-Launcher for a brand-new, just-breaking-the-seal-today, ASA-5510, doesn't work*. The asa-launcher just goes off into space; running it from the management web page results in a web page that pops up, tells you "don't close this web page", and does nothing else.

Solution, according to Cisco: a whole lot of random fiddling with sho ver and other commands, all of which accomplish precisely zero.

Solution, according to random web forums on the internet: downgrade the version of Java running on your management computer to 5.0 update 22.

That's crazy, what does Sun Oracle have to say about that?
We highly recommend users remove all older versions of Java from your system. Keeping old and unsupported versions of Java on your system presents a serious security risk.
(Not to mention all the other more modern crap that will get broken with a downgrade.)

Remember when Java was going to mean Write-Once, Run-Anywhere? Yeah, me neither. Java's never been like that. It's more of a Write-Once, Fuck-Around-With-It-For-Ever-Then-Get-Pissed-And-Give-Up, Run-Nowhere kind of pain.

Dear Cisco, it's 2011 for fuck's sake. It is far past time to be brewing something a little newer than this. And shipping a brand-new box with ancient firmware in it that basically can't be managed by a modern workstation? Amateur hour stuff. Why the hell do you think people pay you a ridiculous amount of money? Because they don't like money? I've wasted basically two hours on this crap. Which is probably nice if you are a cisco professional services engineer, but I'm not. My customers expect results.


*= ignoring the fact that the beautifully printed quick-start guide is incredibly wrong. When it says:
If you have an ASA 5510, connect the inside Ethernet 1 interface to a switch {...}
...you are supposed to understand that it means the management interface instead.


Solved My Filtering Problem

Today I think I solved my iPhone-blocking filtering problem.

To briefly review: I receive something in the order of 300 messages per day, some of which are very large. I don't want to forward all of these messages to my blackberry (or, possibly in the future, an iPhone) because I don't care about the vast majority of these messages. They are generated by robot, and most of them will wait until I have a reasonable interface with which to read them.

To get around this issue, I have been using Blackberry (or more accurately, BES) filters to control what does or doesn't get sent to my handheld.

And none of the iPhone-toting people I found could tell me how to do this.

This came to a head recently -- in search of our own dogfood, my company has transitioned our corporate email to a new hosting system, and as a side effect of that I had to pave my blackberry to get it to register with the new service. And as a side effect of that I had to re-do all my filters, and I could not figure out why one particular co-worker's emails were never forwarded to the handheld.

It was annoying.

So the solution turns out to be ridiculously simple:

Use Outlook (or more accurately, Exchange) filters.

It works like this. I have some filter rules set up on my inbox so that messages I don't want on my handheld get moved to a second folder which I call Inbox-Filtered-Out. Anything left gets sent to the handheld by default.

The filtering rules had to be written differently, since the Blackberry can be set to not-forward by default. I basically have to write my rules so that things get filtered out by default, which is difficult; I have settled for a rule which catches the vast majority of messages and then exceptions them.

So my rule is:
  • For all messages with normal priority:
  • EXCEPT messages that are To: or CC: me; OR are from (explicit list of people);
  • MOVE to Inbox-Filtered-Out.
If I find people are abusing the LOW or HIGH priority, it will be a straight forward matter to copy the exceptions to the other priorities.

I'm sure this will require some tweaking, but with this set up I can probably have an iPhone without too much risk of blowing a dataplan. Only problem is, my new 9100 will be with me for another 18 months or so before I am eligible for a new phone.

I'm really just embarrassed that it took me this long to figure it out.


Collision on Tour de France

Everyone else gets an opinion, why not me!

This is the video that includes the collision between the TV car and the cyclists, resulting in injuries. Watch it through, then watch the slow-motion at 1:00 over a couple of times.

Here's the screen-grab at the 1:03 mark:

...and at the 1:04 mark:

Note that the side of the road has a flip-up pile of dirt in front of the tree that the car is avoiding. This forces the car into the road, and into the cyclists, who seem to react by turning into the car. The driver probably could have cut it a little finer, but we are talking inches here. So had the driver not avoided the flip-up, the car might have taken out the entire leading pack instead of just the few cyclists that were hurt.

Bottom line though is that the car should not have been on the same piece of road that the cyclists were on. I don't know what the "standards" for having team cars and TV cars in among the cyclists are, but it looks like one of those ludicrously dangerous scenarios that have only avoided serious incidents through sheer luck.


Health Update

Just a quick update on how things are going.

I have more or less recovered from the surgery. I find I still get tired more easilly than I did before, but Jenn has cleared me to drive on my own and I have been doing some of the errends and taking-kids-around that aleways needs doing and so far there have not been any problems. I am making arrangements to go back to work half days a few days next week to ensure that I really am up to going back full time the week after.

Doctor-wise we are still in a holding pattern. My meeting with the surgeon, which was supposed to happen on Thursday, has been put off two weeks because the pathology reports were not available. I don't meet with the post-op process doc until the 28th of July, so there is still some time to go before we get the shape of the next move.

I would like to thank everyone who's sent in well wishes during this process and especially those who have been generous in helping manage the kids and the house while I have been less able to.