The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Today's Daily Parker

Another one from Ninth Street, Durham:

This was, of course, from Wednesday, not today. Wednesday it was warm; this morning it was below freezing. Apparently it does get cold in Durham, though "cold" here isn't "cold" back home.

Jamie mentioned several times that the weather in Durham is much preferable to the weather in Chicago, because apparently she has forgotten last August. I guess it depends whether you prefer warm or cold weather.

Tomorrow we're heading back to Chicago. Straight through. Twelve hours. Whee.

Parker on the move

I didn't know it until last week, but most Motels 6 (is that the plural? Has to be) allow dogs. I'm travelling for the holiday, so this made a huge difference. Parker, however, has no idea that absent the liberal pro-dog policy of the chain he'd be in perpetual day-care this week. I even brought his bed for him:

He also didn't know that his crate is portable, which he didn't like to learn:

It must be somewhat bewildering for him. I picked him up right from the gooming salon, having packed the car while he was getting a bath. So one moment he's hopping into the back seat thinking he'll be home in five minutes, next moment he's heading out of town. I'm proud of him, too: 1,440 km and almost 14 hours in a car, and not one incident of mess destruction.

Today while the weather is good we'll explore the environs. Stay tuned.

Cooler weather, just not on camera

Useless fact: Today was the first time since April 6th that my walk to work was below freezing.

Not useless fact: the Inner Drive Webcam was temporarily off-line overnight, as I'm making some infrastructure changes and the computer it's attached to is being decommissioned. (It's back up now.) Apparently people noticed:

I don't do business with you because I don't need to, however, I do look at your live camera every day to see the weather and get a look at Evanston, the town in which I was born and raised. My grandfather lived in the North Shore Hotel in the '50s and I visited there often. Your bottom line may not get any bigger if you continue with the camera but there may be people like myself that will miss getting a glimpse of a portion of the city. I hope that you will not let your new infrastructure cancel out the continuation of the camera.

—John in Craddockville, Va.

And:

Greetings:

I look out at Chicago Ave almost every morning that I am not home in Evanston—just to 'check in'. I think it is the only Webcam in the town. Please keep it up! I love it!

—Bernard, writing from Los Angeles

I had no idea.

The technical issue is simple. Right now the camera runs on an ancient (6-year-old) server running Windows 2000. It's essentially Inner Drive's backup server, sort of the Prince Charles of the office. All it does with its 200 watts is run the Webcam and wait for another server to die.

Here's a photo. The Webcam is hooked into the server on the bottom. (One wag called it "Paul McServer" and called the other one "Server Wonder," but in the office we call them McHenry and Bulle. Bulle is so old it reflects the obsolete naming scheme we haven't used in years.)

Well, server prices having fallen, and efficiencies having risen, and rack-mounting being generally preferable to floor-mounting, we're replacing it with a Dell 860. But the new server will have a Xeon processor, which means we'll be running the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003, which means (finally) our Webcam software won't run on the new server.

When we get the new server running (probably the first week of December), I may take an old, decrepit laptop and hook that into the Webcam. In any event, given the outpouring of support for it, I'll do what I can to keep it running.

Chicago in the New York Times

Via my dad, the New York Times Frugal Traveler visited Chicago recently:

What was this city, then, if such as myself, on a low budget, could essentially see, do and eat whatever I wanted without straining my wallet? Were the skyscrapers merely a prairie mirage, a veil for the cheap, accessible delights hidden at their feet? If I asked John, he'd surely cite Descartes's deceiving demon, while Tiffany would, I bet, simply shrug the question away.

Back, I think

My body doesn't know if I got up this morning at 7 or midnight. I can't decide whether or not I'm hungry. And because I neglected to check email for two days, I had 980 messages totalling over 600 MB (one of my friends sent me the same...photos...four...times), of which 650 were spam.

I will now collect my dog.

Wish you were here

I'm traveling this week. Three guesses where:

So far it's been great. It only rained a bit on Thursday. Today I was on a train most of the day, as I will be tomorrow. Exhausting but fun.

More later.