Bimmer down

After sorting out most of the problems with the BMW over the years, and finally getting it running well enough for a long trip, she’s gone and blown a gasket. (literally) I’d hoped it was an electronic problem since there were previously no signs of gasket failure, but on my most recent check, there was coolant in the oil. This car has been plagued by coolant pressure related issues since we got it and when I finally fixed it, the next weak link broke. Thankfully we haven’t driven it since, so hopefully the bearings, cams and journals haven’t been destroyed. Either way, it’s time to rebuild the engine. Since that will cost about what the car is worth, it’s going to get put on the back burner for a while. We’re going to get a new car for my wife to drive in the mean time and decide what to do with the 530i later.

Back in the saddle

It’s been a while since my last post, about a year in fact.  This will come as no surprise to those who’ve followed my blog before.  In my defense, it wasn’t entirely my fault.  Back when I decided to convert my static weblog over to a proper blog platform, (and being cheap) I decided to host it myself with a free dynamic domain service.  For the most part, this worked great until one day that company decided to stop providing some of the domains for free.  I didn’t want to pay $15/year for a single hostname when I could have multiple domains for the same money.  I looked at other free solutions, but I just couldn’t trust that these domains would stick around.

Fast forward to today:  My trusty Compaq Evo, while tiny and very power efficient (try 35W @ idle running a Pentium 4 CPU) just wasn’t cutting it.  I wanted a new machine with multiple cores, SATA and GigE.  I had an AMD Phenom x3 CPU collecting dust in my computer room, so I decided to order up a new motherboard, and a pair of 2TB drives.  The new machine definitely eats more power, but it’s also got to keep 4 disks spinning.  I’ve also broken with tradition and installed Linux on this server.  (my previous servers have always been at the latest version of Microsoft’s server OS to give me extra practice before implementing at work…)  Hosting this blog on a WIMP platform has been an experience in frustration at times, so switching to LAMP was already a desirable option.  The last piece of the puzzle was to find a domain I liked that was cheap and easy to remember… and that brings us full circle.  I definitely should’ve done this sooner.

Thoughts on social media

After a recent Twitter-related faux pas, I realized something important about tags in social media.  Tags are meaningless unless other people accept them.  Even if you’ve used a tag for years, if nobody knows about it, its usefulness is very limited.  Different groups may make different tags for the same thing, but that’s ok.  One group may be using the tag for one thing, while another may be using it for something entirely different, or even just slightly different.  Multiple tags also may exist for the very same thing.  This can be frustrating for some people (myself included) who want to  enter a single tag and find most of the information related to that tag.  Twitter and it’s 140 character limit on posts/tweets tends to encourage the use of short acronym-like hashtags.  It’s relatively easy to anticipate keyword tags, but less so for acronyms.  For this reason it’s easy to miss out on a thread because you were off by one character.  The hope is that at least one of the people you follow will be interested in the same thread and will actually use the more widely accepted tag.  Unfortunately though, in this social media universe, there’s no such thing as a correct tag.  As one of my friends used to say, “Don’t ask, just accept.” 🙂