Recent blog entries for zbir

3 Mar 2001 (updated 3 Mar 2001 at 22:16 UTC) »


Found out our house appraised at just the right amount. Next stop: gathering some masonry estimates for repointing the brick foundation. Shouldn't be too bad. The seller will cover some of the repairs. This time next month, we'll be living in the new house. Sweet.


Again, not much. As this Zope project is winding down, I'm getting back to more sysadminny projects. Setting up servers, helping clients with services. Normal bit pushing.


Finally got moved over to a new server. My employer has a big, fat, shared host server that we used to put customers on before they began getting dedicated servers, so we kinda open it up for staff use. I can install the latest version of Zope, which will be nice.

Talked to the lender last night. Since we're going conventional FHA ( not a 203k renovation loan ), we should actually end up with extra $$ after closing, which leads me to...

Saw the PowerBook G4 at CompUSA last night. Wow. Just wow.


Implementing validation in Python for Zope is fun.

21 Feb 2001 (updated 3 Mar 2001 at 22:12 UTC) »

Buying a House

Don't ever let people tell you that buying a house is scary. Don't let them tell you that getting approved is hard. Especially if you have a steady job, and aren't a complete basket case with your credit. Getting pre-qualified was about as easy as breathing, and I was a basket case ( back in college - still hanging with me, though ).

Now, finding a house is an entirely different matter. Looking over different neighborhoods, realizing what you can get for your dollar, trying to decide whether to buy a ready-to-move-into house or a fixer-upper.

My gf and I live in Richmond, VA. We looked at some historic neighborhoods, we looked at up and coming re-development neighborhoods, we looked in the suburbs, we looked in the boonies. We finally settled on a nice quiet neighborhood close into town on the north side called Bellevue/Ginter Park. We made an offer on a house and the owner accepted.

Now we go through the process of getting the Inspectors and Appraisers in. See, the house was For Sale By Owner ( known to our Realtor® as a Fizbo ), and the owner didn't want to contribute to closing costs or agent commissions, so we had to inflate our offer to compensate for these factors. Now the house has to appraise at our inflated offer price or more, or we can't get the loan.

Actual Work Stuff

Not much going on here. Been Zoping still. Writing a data validation module in Python to handle lots of form stuff. It's fun.

31 Jan 2001 (updated 19 Feb 2001 at 13:57 UTC) »

So I lost my Apprentice Cert.

Heh. Figgers. Well, time for an update then. Perhaps that will bring me back in the good graces of the Powers That Be.

I've been Zoping like mad lately, trying to get a project out on time and in spec. Despite the fact that we were brought in as subcontractors, with no say in the initial project design. Design? What's that? Since our company is still in start-up mode, we can't turn away work. Because of that, we dabble in web development in addition to our core competency of managed hosting. I vacillate between wanting to follow in the footsteps of BOFH and ditching the sysadmin stuff to work on web devel projects full time.

Zope is such an amazing beast.

Man. I'm bad at this. I suppose I'd be better with a project? Ah, who knows.

Started my new job at Baymountain, Inc. Back to the comforting and reassuring hum of a server room. Not to mention the rigorously maintained temperature control. *Brrrr!* Need to get some good headphones. Anyone impressed with the inexpensive Koss R/80's? I don't have hundreds to spend on quality Sennheisers or the like.

Man, well over a month since my last entry. Over a month and a half, actually. Well, certainly a lot has happened.

I resigned my post yesterday, and accepted a position with a Linux company in town called Bay Mountain as a Systems Engineer II. I'll start almost as soon as I get back from vacation in Cura├žo. I'm going for two weeks of lobstering, diving, and snorkeling.

More on the new job once I've started.

Had some more thoughts on the co-op idea today. Perhaps I can get a draft together by this weekend.

Been wrestling with PHP+ODBC+FileMaker Pro today. Why do they always insist on the hard way? Not that I'm one to back down from a challenge, but c'mon.

`ldconfig` is your friend.

Spent today and yesterday staring at my screen.

Spent the afternoon looking at all the other Zacs on Advogato.

I seem to be stuck in neutral.

VICE is cool.

Wow. All me old droogs from Kiva are here. Only Matt seems to be absent from the egomaniacal journey that is the Advogato online diary. But he's too busy actually working. Or working at looking like he's working.

Read through some of Ed's diary today. Gee, I seem to have plenty of time to read everyone else's diary.

The more I think about my decentralized co-op idea, the more I want to set it up. I'd need just a small raise for a while, so I could drop some hours and work on it. Heh, "Boss, can you subsidize my plans to leave and compete?"

That'd be great.

I've been thinking about starting up a computer collective/co-op. So many of us easily trade freedom for security in our day-to-day jobs. I know personally that I make a (tiny) fraction of what I'm billed out for. I've been listening to a lot of anarcho-socialist stuff lately (lots of Utah Phillips and Ani DiFranco's combos) and being generally disgruntled about that disparity. I mean, sure, my boss started out risking his own personal worth, and ultimately he owns the capital resources, but aren't we both intimately entwined in this whole venture? Who needs who more? The risk is entirely his. I can more easily find new work than he can find new capital. Should this all fail, I'm looking at a job hunt, while he's looking at bankruptcy. I'm in a strong muddle about all this.

I feel that there is a better way. Sometimes it seems that the key to being a successful freelancer is akin to being a remora, and finding a successful external company to latch onto as the "consultant".

I would like to be a part of something like Garp's Mom's place. I want to form a "Zac's Home for Wayward Sysadmins/Programmers". A big old antebellum house wired with ethernet everywhere, a big fat SDSL line, and lots and lots of servers. I want a place where programmers on the lamb (or just exploring) can stop by for a few nights or weeks. Where they can learn one-on-one with other programmers. Oh, hell. It'd be great for fiction, I guess. Not very realistic, though.

Mostly, I just want something different. I suppose we all have dreams of working independently from the sea shore with our wirelessly networked laptops, guzzling Rum drinks while collaborating with fellow hackers across the globe. All while getting a fat check in the (albeit slow) Caribbean post...

Personally, I think that Anarchy can work on a local level. Where everyone knows everyone. I can imagine that a tight group of dedicated individuals can make a distributed profit-generating co-op feasible today.

Anyone interested?

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