Interesting items of note

Well, Mrs. Slaq has now left her job with the Department of Children and Families. Good riddance, in my opinion. I know *I* couldn't do that job. I'd want to throttle every parent that was an idiot.

As for me, I have an interview on Friday April 1. The shop that I'm interviewing with is a non-profit organization that is in the process of migrating every system on the campus to RedHat Fedora. Every server, and every desktop. No windows anywhere. I'd love to be a part of that.

See, I preach Linux in the workplace for two main reasons: Free, and Open.

To define, Free is just as it implies. The cost of rolling out and using the software on most Linux systems is exactly what you want to donate to the project distribution of your choice. No licenses, no seats, no compliance checks, nothing. The BSA is not going to confiscate every machine on your network if they feel like it. If you think I'm kidding, read this.

The next part about open, is much nicer. Say X and Y play well together, but Z doesn't like to play with X and Y. Well, in an open environment, I can dig into the guts of the software and play with it to see if I can wrench on it enough to get it to work. Alternatively I can pay someone to do the same. Trust me, there's nothing more frustrating than to ask a vendor "I need your software to do Z.", and get the answer "We can't do that. Sorry.".

Weather I get the job I'm interviewing for or not, it really doesn't matter. It's cool that other places are starting to think like I do and seeing that Free and Open are both good things. I won't say that all is perfect in the world of Linux, far from it. Desktop printing is still a mess (which 95% or more of the time, Windows gets *right*), and some of the applications don't have counterparts, or their counterparts aren't as polished (Exchange server/Outlook doesn't have a counterpart, Adobe Photoshop's counterpart the GIMP isn't as nice as Adobe's option. This is just what I've heard from people that have used them both) as they are on Windows. However, when you're an organization that either uses tax dollars, or is non-profit, I believe that you owe it to the taxpayers/people who sponsor your organization to at least look into Free and Open software, and use the funds that you've been put in charge of for more core operations.

I really think I'd like the job, tho. :D


Bike week

Last Saturday (2005-03-12), Mrs. Slaq and I went down to Daytona to witness the sheer insanity that is Bike Week.
Bike Week started much like the Daytona 500 did: a race on the beach. It's certainly evolved to much more, however. History can be found here.
We got to Daytona proper around 1400 after having a lazy morning and me debating on weather we actually wanted to spend the cash on fuel and such. I gotta say, I have never seen more 2 wheeled and 3 wheeled contraptions in my *life*. Motorcycles of almost every configuration and style were putting around, since the sheer amount of traffic had brought most of the main streets cruising speeds to roughly "crawl". Lots of idiots too, but that's just my opinion on anyone who rides without a helmet.
We went into the stands at the raceway there. Neither of us had seen the speedway before, so it was pretty interesting. HUGE. The backstretch opposite of where we came into the track wasn't visible (we came in at the start of the tri-oval, near the start/finish line) unless we went up into the stands. The infield on the tri-oval was big enough to put the dirt tracks that the off-road guys raced on in. Both of us were impressed by the sheer size of the place. No, it's not as big as DFW, but it's a sight.
We went around to some of the manufacturers tents outside the track after that. Many had, unfortunately, already packed up for the weekend to get ready to roll to the next location. We did however get to see all 4 Japanese manufacturers (Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Kawasaki) and their respective stable of motorcycles. Mrs. Slaq fell in love with the Kawasaki ZX-12. Only $11500 and 150hp. Both numbers make me cringe.
Honda appears to be trying to introduce a police issue version of their ST1300. I'm skeptical, but BMW has a very similar bike (meaning "a sport tourer") that they successfully market. From what I've heard and read, it's a great police bike as well, so Honda may be onto something using their big sport tourer.
Ducati had already packed up their public stable, but they did have a series of custom bikes that had unknown designers, but all based off of their "Monster" series motorcycles.
Orange County Choppers had a tent set up. They were packing up by the time we got there, but the area was still packed with people. I did get to see some of the bikes that they've built for the show, including the Spider man Bike, The Jet bike, and the Lance Armstrong dedication bike. Always interesting to see something like that.
Stan (the local Guzzi dealer to us, and sponser of 2 racers in the AHMRA Vintage series) had already left by the time we got there. I was bummed, but also expected it.
I'll post some of the photos I took when I get around to it. Watch this space for linkage.


Other projects

One of the things that I try to do is keep busy in my off time. Most of the time, it's computer games, most currently, World of Warcraft.
However, the *more constructive* pursuits would be like that of my 1983 AMC Wagoneer. I haven't taken pics of it yet, simply because I always forget to bring the camera out when I'm working on it.
Anyway, it's undergoing an engine transplant. The old AMC 360 engine that was in it was on it's last legs when I drove the vehicle out here. In it's place is *not* another AMC 360, but a Chrysler 5.9 small block out of a 1997 Ram D1500 truck. The transmission is being swapped for a 5 speed as well. Hopefully a modest lift and some bigger tires will be in the mix as well.
The engine is currently sitting in the engine bay, which involved cutting off the mount horns from a donor Dodge truck frame, and welding them in place with a piece of 2x2 steel tube underneath them to get them to the right distance away from the AMC frame.
The biggest problem that I've had with doing this transplant is getting a flywheel for the truck. Apparently, it's a difficult thing to come up with, unless you pay Chrysler $560 for a new one. Everything else has been pretty straight forward, including electrical, which is basically "Use the harness from the donor truck".
Part of what makes this swap so easy is the fact that Dodge decided to keep *all* of the engine compartment electrical connections under the hood, so there's no need to punch a hole in the firewall for a massive bulkhead connector or anything of that nature. It's a double edged sword, definitely, seeing as how water could be a massive issue, but if you're over the hood with water, I think you already have more problems than electrical. :)
Anyway, hopefully I'll have some pics to *show* all of this stuff, and a working set of wheels in the near future.