… A little bit of everything

Every time I search the internet looking for an answer to the ubiquitous question of “How much money do I need to retire?“, the answers are always just about the same; “It depends“. Yes, it does depend on many things, but very few articles give the details needed to even give a person a starting point. So, I’ll attempt to do just that.

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It was around 10 O’clock at night when we first heard what sounded like kids screaming in the wetlands behind our house. Intrigued, and knowing that couldn’t be the case, I managed to capture the sound on my phone and compared it to animal sounds on Youtube. As I suspected, the screams were not from kids, but rather a small pack of coyotes, probably four or five in size. Having lived in Falcon, Colorado since 2002, this was the first time we had ever heard coyotes. We did have a fox living in the area that would scream on occasion, but for the most part, the only animals in the area were rabbits, bullfrogs, and the seasonal ducks and geese.

While kind of cool, coyotes do present a problem, more so than balls of rabbit poop in the yard. Especially to household pets who mysteriously disappear in the night. And while somewhat rare, even adults and children have been attacked by coyotes, but I’m not too concerned about that. What I am concerned about is our beloved cattle dog. We have a rather large 1/2 acre backyard surrounded by a split-rail fence with chicken wire to keep her from getting out (and to a lesser extent, keep the kids in), but that can be easily circumvented by a determined and hungry pack of coyotes.

This begs the question: What can I do? The last thing I want to do is freak my kids out so they don’t want to play outside. It’s hard enough to drag them away from the Xbox (Mindcraft in particular, AKA: Mindcrack) so the last thing I need is for them to throw down the coyote excuse as a reason to stay inside. The dog needs to run outside otherwise every piece of furniture will turn into her chew toy.

My first idea was to wander into the backyard and make a ton of noise in the hopes of scaring them off. However, after doing so under a full moon, the slow walk back inside suddenly turned into a sprint as I conjured the mental imagery of a Stephen King book cover depicting a dark silhouette (me) being chased by a pack of blood thirty coyotes.

So, the next time I went heavily armed, but then I read I can be fined and even jailed for shooting a coyote unless provoked, and I’m certainly not looking to provoke a fight. It seems as though the coyote has diplomatic immunity of sorts in El Paso County, unless you happen to be a rancher who can shoot them on site, which I’m not.

Animal control isn’t an option, because there is no such thing outside city limits. There is the Department of Wildlife, but they won’t do anything until someone has been attacked. They won’t even respond for missing pets suspected of being killed by wild animals.

I think I’ll lay low for awhile and just keep an eye on things. It’s kind of cool hearing the coyote victory cry on a rabbit kill, and the neighborhood is much quieter in the evenings. Let’s just hope it’s because responsible pet owners are keeping their dogs inside at night, and not that they’ve gone missing.

UPDATE: I haven’t heard the Coyotes for about two weeks. I suspect they may have exhausted their food source and moved on to more bountiful lands.

This example is by no means meant to substitute a well-thought out backup and recovery strategy for an Oracle Database, but it will show you how simple it is to backup an 11g Database using RMAN on Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 Bit. At the very least, it will point you in the right direction and give you a working example from which to base your testing from. Also, I feel silly saying this, but please don’t try this on an operational database!

Let’s change a couple of the default settings within the RMAN console. We want to make sure the control file is always backed up, and we want to change how many backup sets will be retained.

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The goodies (I say that sarcastically) in the Affordable Healthcare Act should come as no surprise to those who can read and don’t follow lock-and-step with what their government tells them. Especially this one. Many had been warning the public about this disaster for years and still very few listened. Or, they just ignored the issue thinking it can’t be as bad as the naysayers are making it out to be. We’re only a month into this nightmare and Freddy Kruger is gaining strength. Sadly, it’s about to get a whole lot worse, and this titanic of a mistake is barreling full-steam ahead into a highly visible iceberg the size of Greenland in broad daylight.

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I’m about to head off for the “land down under” (Australia) and I want to make sure I don’t get pummeled with a huge phone bill upon my return. Why would I have a huge bill? Well, with the Galaxy S4 (and any smartphone for that matter) all use quite a bit of data. Even when you aren’t actively using the phone, there is a lot of chatter taking place in the background (software updates, weather applications, stock widgets, pushes, pulls, etc). If you are not within range of a Wifi hotspot, then all that data is transmitted across the mobile network(s), and each Kb of data downloaded or uploaded costs money (especially if on international travel and you data plan does not support it).

You might be thinking, why not leave the phone at home? Well, I need it while I’m in the United States so I can call family to come pick me up from the airport, or to kill some time during layovers. I also want it while abroad so I can use it in Wifi hotspots to send email (with photos) back home or call family with Skype/Tango.

So, how can I turn off data and only use wifi on my phone? In other words, how do I turn my Galaxy S4 into a simple Wifi only device?

Option #1

Airplane Mode (On): This will turn off everything (all radios) including data, phone and Wifi. Not exactly what I want, because I do want Wifi. So this won’t work.

Option #2

Data Roaming (unchecked) + Mobile Data (unchecked): This will turn off all mobile data, but leave Wifi on and allow phone calls to be placed. Not exactly what I want because if someone calls and I answer, I will get charged a nasty per minute rate. But, this would work. I just have to make sure I don’t accept or place any calls on accident (Ever receive one those 5 minute voice mails from someone that sounds like their phone is in their pocket — I’ve done it).

Option #3

Airplane Mode (On) + Wifi (On): I can activate Airplane Mode and then also turn Wifi on. I think this will work. This will prevent data networks and also prevent phone calls, but it will allow a Wifi connection. I’m going with this option. I hope it works, because I’ll be a bit pissed if I get charged a crap ton of money.