It’s almost 3am, and I’m back in California.

And I can’t sleep.

And I found out my car has a flat tire.

And life sux. Sigh.

Sickness sicks

My sister-in-law and nephew have been slightly sick recently, but they all have pretty good immune systems it seems.

I, on the other hand, weigh in at 135lbs and 5′ 10″ tall. I do not have a great immune system. In fact I have such a bad immune system, that I would currently lose a race to an asthmatic ant with some rather heavy shopping.

This sucks. Hopefully I’ll feel better in the morning.

My paternity leave is almost over, and I have a LOT of work to get done when I fly back to California. More on my current project later!

My first oil change

Taking this time off work to bond with the new baby has also given me a little time to spend doing the things I enjoy, and things that need to get done around the house.

Today I changed the oil filter on the car, and interesting experience to be sure.

For anyone else with a Chevrolet Blazer S-10, your oil filter might be reported to be under the left side of the engine. If you can’t find it, take a look at the front right corner under the hood. If you see a metal block with the words “HOT” engraved on top, your oil filter is attached right under that block. After you unscrew it, keep it upright or the oil will spill all over the place 🙂

Linux on the Desktop at Google

Yes, Google has a linux distribution it uses for desktops.
Yes, it’s called Gubuntu (a prize for anyone who can guess which other distribution it might be based on 🙂

For those of you in SoCal, Vince Busam, a current Google systems engineer will be giving a talk on Google’s use of Linux on the desktop as the USC LUG on Feb 23rd 2006. Details here.

No, there are no plans that I know of to release Gubuntu to the public 🙂

The hardest thing about working at Google..

I think I’ve figured it out.

At my last company, it was easy to become the superstar systems admin. All you had to do was learn the basics and then relentlessly tackle the tasks no-one else wanted to or knew how to.

The problem with working at Google however is that everyone else already knows everything. And you can’t really find anything that others don’t want to approach. It certainly makes life interesting.

Major surgery, part 1

About two weeks ago, the alternator on our car died. Replacing this was a minor task, completed in about an hour. A week later the fuel pump also died, requiring major surgery to repair.

The operation took two days of working in near-freezing temperatures. My brother-in-law Jaime came by to do the work, with me assisting, as you can see here. That’s me in the blue jeans.
After two very cold, very tiring days, the car started on our first attempt. A job well done I think. In the process, Brandy bought me a whole bunch of cool new tools to play with, here and here.

Efficiency in bureaucracy

In order to file my 2005 US federal tax return electronically, I needed my Adujsted Gross Income from 2004. “Hmm, I don’t have that,” I think to myself.

Not a problem! Call the IRS at 1-800-826-1040, access your personal tax account, enter your social security number, press 1, press 0, and the nice lady on the other side will give you the number you need.

She will, of course, ask you about 10 questions to confirm you are who you say you are, and this is a Good Thing(tm). After waiting on hold for about 3 minutes, she’ll return with your information. I wonder if she had to run down to the filling room to get my records..

That notwithstanding,  I’ve only once before seen a government agency offer such efficiency. It was quite pleasant all in all.

Paperwork for the unborn

I’m stepping away from Google for a couple of months of paternity leave. Today was my last day at work until the end of March.

It’s interesting how much bureaucracy such a simple action puts into motion!

Forms to be filled for HR, signed by 3 people. The state and the medical benefits companies must both be called for workers comp (this step took TWO trips to HR and FOUR phone calls to complete). No more! make it stop!

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