Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry X-mas

Nothing else to say, just to wish you all a verry merry XMAS !!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Disney Parks Presentation

In my life I've seen some very smart marketing techniques, but I've never seen one as good as this one:

And, Nope, it's not that Disney have me in such a high consideration that has decide to honer me this way. Every time my name shows up it's just a rendering of the information entered in a web page.
Wonderful demonstration of technology expertise and ingenuity by Disney.

THANK YOU DISNEY for keeping the dreams alive!!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Welcome Camila !

Let me tell you that my family in Argentina is growing, Yesterday morning, Camila was born !!!
I do not have much details, but I do know that both the baby and Jessica the Mom are doing OK ... The one that it's probably going crazy is Diego, the Dad !!!

I send from here a big kiss for all 3 of them, and a super duper double kiss to Martina, that it's now a BIG SISTER (in capitals and Bold).

Lots of love from me in the US, I hope I could meet the new baby girl really soon.


PS: I'll post pictures as soon as I get one.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

time for a little fun ...

Dear Friends,
It's been some time from my last entry, and that's because the Vista migration at work it's driving me crazy (Sorry Bill but it's not the best Microsoft product ever).
Anyway, I took the Thanksgiving holiday and a couple of extra days and come over, or should I say down, to Buenos Aires for a couple of days (5 to be exact), and it's 5 vacation days, 5 days to do absolutely nothing ... after 46 days or working continuously, I think i deserved some downtime ... specially when keeping in mind that I have another 20 or so similarly full days ahead ...
Anyway, I took time to read some of those "fun" emails that I did not have time to check out before, and among them was one from my friend Diego P. that I found crazily funny and I want to share with you.

Of course, after I recommend that you check the rest of the videos from this comedian Jeff Dunham, as they are unbelievable good.

have fun !!!
Oh, and before I forget: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MALENA !!!!! I really enjoyed your 1st birthday party tonight.
Best Regards, Marianok

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama is wining

It's been a while that i do not write, but today I really feel like it

I'm watching CNN while the poll results keep coming in.

Many laugh at me when I mentioned that I was looking forward to the day I could vote for Barack Obama for President, in his reelection campaign.

Well, the dream is a lot closer, right now 10:29 PM EST Barack Obama is practically the President Elect, next year I'll be able to apply for citizenship and in 4 year I'll be able to cast my vote for him as President.

It's so nice to keep your dreams alive.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Moving ...

I finally finish moving !

For those that didn't known I moved from the basement in North Plainfield,NJ to a nicer and larger room in Summit,NJ.

All of this before and after my trip to visit my sister and the family.

It's incredible what you can accumulate in 5 years in the same place, furniture, electronics, clothing (most of it no longer my size), papers, decorations, cleaning products (including personal and for laundry), etc.

I have moved all of it, and have mostly put everything, but I'm still not "at home", I still have to get settle in.

Ahhh, and "Advil" also has a new home, after years of both her and her predecessor ("the cafia") sleeping in the streets, she now has it's own covered parking to protect her from the snows that will soon fall.

Well, that's it for today !!! Best Regards to all !

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Road Trip to Alabama

I had some vacations left from a trip that was planning to make and never did, so the last week of August, I took a couple of days off, which united the holiday on Monday, September 1st. (Labor Day in the USA), gave me 5 days off.
So on Thursday August 28 I left work at 5 thirty in the afternoon and pointed the truck south to visit my sister and her family.

View Larger Map

When I began to ruminate the idea of the trip, I took the opportunity as a good excuse to buy a GPS, a GARMIN C580, which was a very magnificent purchase!

The truth is that driving in the USA is a pleasure, the whole journey by highways, this motorways are wonderful and free (on the trip to Alabama from NJ pass just one toll for a total of $ 0.75 (seventy-five cents) in the return trip i did not pay anything, that's because I did pass through this place (there was a detour due to an accident in transit).

Every so many miles, there are rest area with restrooms, coffee machines, soft drink, candy, natural walking area, tables for eating outdoors, and even grills for cooking, and area for animals.

These areas are designed for both family and commercial vehicles can stop and so they have sectors so that large trucks can stop and move without hindering traffic and movement of others.

Did I mentioned that they are free?

Since a journey of 985 miles (about 1580 km.) is not done in one day (my GPS estimated a 14 hours trip), and driving alone one it can not be done continuously, i decided to stop just after midnight in a MOTEL along the way (yes, a hotel like the one of of Norman Bates in the movie Psicosys).

The next day I woke up early and got on my way ... as the previous day, I took it calmly, driving at the maximum speed (*almost* all the time), and stopping to stretch my legs every couple of hours ... I arrived to the hotel in Alabama at 5:20 pm (4:20 local time) almost 24 hours after leaving NJ.

My family did not knew I was coming, so upon arrival I went to the hotel, took a shower and changed my clothes and showed up at the restaurant.
They were all there, so it was much easier and fun. Saying that they were surprised is and understatement, they could not understand anything, much less when I mentioned that I had driven all the way from NJ.
The hotel was near their house, so it was really easy and comfortable to come and go every morning and every night and I was comfortable knowing that I was not imposing myself among them, specially my nice that it's no longer a girl but a young woman

These days we chatted, ate and enjoy ... :-)

We went to Vulcan Park, an old steel plant that was converted into a park and recreation area (one of government plans that pushed the U.S. out the crisis of the '30s)

and we also visited the falls Noccabula

On Sunday, around 4:30 I started my return trip, following the same route used to come, and just like before, stopping every couple of hours to rest, drink, buy gasoline, etc., at night i stopped in a motel along the route to sleep.

As I mentioned before, on my return return (when I was a little over 100 miles away from home) the route was closed by an accident and police are diverting all traffic by alternative routes, once more, the GPS justify the investment by showing an alternative route (one that police did not suggest to the general traffic because it passes thru the heart of 2 towns and they could not divert the highway traffic trough them), so I saved a lot of time and gas by taking the road again much earlier and with almost no traffic for a long time.

Miles driven: 2180
Fuel: $ 250
Motels: $ 110
Coffee, mineral water, sandwiches, etc.: $ 25
Tolls: $ 0.75

My family's face when I showed up: PRICELESS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are things that money can't buy, those are the ones you enjoy more!

Well, that's it for today ...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

BBQ ...

Today was the Annual BBQ at work.
I had a really Natural and healthy desert called "Italian Ice Cream" ... for those that do not know it, it's ice with the texture of snow flavored with syrup.
in my case, I had a blood red snow flavored like cherry ... see my mouth :-)

Well, if you survived that, you are a tough cookie !!!

Have a good one, regards, Marianok

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Last Lecture

Last Saturday, my mom told me that on TV (Channel C5N of Argentina) there was a computer professor from Carnegie Mellon giving a talk titled "The last Lecture"
Had I been at home, I suppose that I would have turn on the TV to watch it (not because the title nor the teacher meant anything to me, but because the association "professor" - "Carnegie Mellon"), but I could not watch it, so I simply ignore the message .

On Monday, my mother called me asking: "What is powerpoint?", I explained what it was and then she mentioned that she has just bought the book from "that professor from Carnegie Mellon that was on TV the other day". The professor and the conference still meant nothing to me, so I assumed that my mother had (finally) decided to open herself to the world of computing and had bought this man's book to make his first steps.
My only additional thought, before continuing working, was the he must be a magnificent educator in order to, from a television program, convince my mother to learn about "all that electronic thing that drives me crazy" (as she often tell me) .

Perhaps, had I been less concentrated on my work, I would have noticed that my line of reasoning was not really plausible ... Or maybe not ... :-)

The next day, she called again to tell me that they were repeating the program, once again while I was working and once again without the possibility of breaking for 5 minutes to get my TiVo to record the program.

Today, when we got together, she showed me the book she had purchased, a quick glance while stirring my coffee, revealed that something was wrong in my reasoning. Hardcover, the typography and design of one of those classic books, and the title: "The last Lecture" ... definitely not the look that I was expecting on a "computer for Dummy's" kind of book (sorry, mom, I love you very much !!!!!!!).

While on my first sip of coffee, she told me that she had already read it, and that she wanted me to have it. And then she told me briefly the story: a computer professor at CM who learns that he has cancer and only a few months of life, he looks for a way so that his very young children have will have tomorrow a memory of his father. This book is that memory.

It was easy to understand why my mom, who lost her parents being a littler more than a baby, feel so attracted to this topic and probably identified with these children.
Now the title and classic aspect of this book had meaning.

A while later, I got in the Bus and grab the book. In back cover I learned that the title was not the author's invention, but a common practice in American universities (united states Universities, my friend Sandro would correct me), it seems, that they usually invite professors or public figures and ask them to imagine that they are in their last months of life and to give a talk about what things they learned or what they most valued, and so on.

I do not think that the authorities of CM, were expecting a talk so realistic when (months before being diagnosed) they invited this professor to take part of that cycle.

So far I have spoken about this author without presenting him, and it is time to do so: his name is Randy Pausch and the book to which I refer is called "The last Lecture"

I have not yet seen the conference (I write this blog in the bus on my way home, and I will look for it on the Internet as soon as I arrive), but still, is noticeable that the book is not a repetition of the lecture, it rather incorporates elements form it and completes it with a description of situations that occurred before, during and after the CM Lecture.

It feels like a "personal diary" mixed with autobiography (after all, are not the same thing).

While Mr. Pausch is not "a regular guy" (doctorate in science, professor at CM, worked at Disney, flew on a NASA flight, he even met Captain Kirk), he is not a special person either, everything he achieved he achieved by means of effort and dedication, which leaves the door open for all of us to try to do it too.

I think that this is one of the best lessons of the book.

"The last Lecture" is the name of the book and certainly that is full of them. Not those lessons that you just repeat, but those that leave you thinking and help you draw your own conclusions. This are the good lessons, the ones that have value.

I'm Just (or should I say already) by the first third book, and I already know that it is one of those books that I will treasure for years, in fact, when I'm finished, I will ask my mother to write a dedicatory on it and I will treasure it on my library.

For many reasons I can not avoid felling very emotional and think a lot with this book.

Certainly the story of this man, of age and professions close to mine make me think about my own mortality, knowing that my 37 and still without any children, is not so unreasonable to think that something similar could happen to me in the future, and that those children might grow up without their father, or without their mother (if I get the other side of the coin), or without both, like it happened to my mother and uncles.

There is also the fact that, not too long ago, my mom was very sick and faced some major surgery; Although I have many memories with her, I wish to make many more.

Finally, there is Carlo, one of my fellow coworkers, a guy my age, with small creatures, a good worker, that several months ago was diagnosed with cancer; it is impressive to see him fight and put a good face to life, and, For me, he is an example of willpower.
The truth be told, I do not know how serious is his health status, I do know that he is following various treatments and that has some good days and bad ones, but I do not want to delve more, not because of lack of interest, but out of respect for his privacy (I still remember that sometimes, with the theme of my mom, some people keep asking things, and while they had the best of intentions, some times I just wanted to say nothing at all).
Whenever I see him online, on the company chat, I can not help but wonder at the effort and sacrifice that it represents, and I really admire that.

Well, that's today's blog, it's quite long ... :-).

I will write soon with more comment on this wonderful book.

Best Regards, marianok

PS: It's 23:51, I did not want to go to sleep without including a link to Randy Pausch's presentation and, while looking for it, I found that he died on July 25, 2008.

I invite everyone to see this magnificent speech he gave on Carnegie Mellon.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Powershell: Confirmation Level

Part of the scripts I'm making for work involve the update of several Exchange Distribution lists in an automated way.
I was on this when I run into an unexpected behavior: the Remove-DistribtionListMember Command was asking for confirmation, even when I had not specified the -Confirm parameter .

A glance to the exchange.ps1 reveled that, in effect, the Powershell environment for exchange has the confirmation Preference set to HIGH by default (thus asking for confirmation on any task that performs a important change to AD)

Changing the confirmation level it's as easy as :

$ConfirmPreference = 'High' # The allowed values seem to be High, Medium, Low, None.

But, I didn't like the idea of changing the value for the whole environment, who knows what would I like to run next ...

So decided to implement a simple temporary variable to store the value of $ConfirmPreference on the script's start and revert it to normal just before the end.

$ConfirmPreference =$OLD_ConfirmPreference

... # My Code here

$OLD_ConfirmPreference =$ConfirmPreference

My next thinking was on how cool would it be to be able to implement a confirmation switch on my own scripts, and I realize that it's easy to do:

[switch] $Confirm

$OLD_ConfirmPreference =$ConfirmPreference

if ($Confirm) {
$ConfirmPreference = 'High'
} else {
$ConfirmPreference = 'None'

...... # My Code here

$ConfirmPreference =$OLD_ConfirmPreference

Now I can have (and give to my script users) control on the Powershell confirmations.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The PATH in Powershell

One of the things I wanted to do when I had a Blog was to post a recap of the interesting things I learn periodically, specially if it took me a while to learn them or if there was some complications for me to understand them.
I will start this today with this posting.

The PATH in Powershell

Maybe because I never formally read much about powershell, maybe because I did not bother enough to find it sooner, or for whatever reason, I had never found out what to do in order to be able to execute my scripts as just another PS command, meaning be able to use
instead of
. my-script.ps1

Yesterday I decided to research on it and after some goggling I got a clue: The Script's directory MUST be in the PATH, meaning that even if you are standing right in the Script's directory, you won't be able to execute it as a command unless the directory is in the PATH. Crazy, isn't it ???

Okay,now that I knew that I need to figure out 2 things:
  1. How to read the path from Powershell (I found that Path and $path did not work), and
  2. How to change it (To be able to add my own directories)

A little more googling revealed that to get the PATH I only need to query the Environmental variables:

Easy, right ???? ... Then, Why didn't I figure it our sooner ???

To add items to the pat, it's just as simple:

$env:path = $env:path + ";E:\My Scripts\Powershell\"

Now, that script that i was only able to execute as:
& "E:\My Scripts\Powershell\my-script.ps1"
can now be executed as:

To see if an specific directory is part of the PATH, we can use simple string functions:

($env:path -match 'My Scripts\\Powershell')

(Notice the double slash in order for the slash not to be considered as a REGEX command)

Well, not "rocket science", but it did took me a while to put all the pieces together, and I hope that I'll save some time to the next person trying to accomplish this.

Blowing candles with martina and luis

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Yes, it's my birthday.
The english word sound, to me, much better than it's spanish counterpart ("cumpleaños").
After all, that's what it is, a reminder of the day of birth, the same day of the year that you were born, not just "on other year on your back". To tell the truth, I do not really care about my age, for me the years are like my gray hairs, part of life.

Going back to the issue of the title, it has a double implication, it's not just my birthday, but also the birth day of this blogs. For one reason or another, I haven't entered this world before ... at the begining I was thinking that it was only for very special and very smart people that had important things to say, and later I was thinking to do it directly on my (forever unfinished) website.

This year I had it all planed, to launch on my birthday the finished website and a blog (hosted in Blogger, but crossposted to my site) ... but technology comploted against it and I was unable to finish the things I absolutely want to have in my website, so about 90% of what I've done so far will remain hidden for a while ... but I decided that I would at least launch this blog ... and ... well, here it is.

Those that know me well, can see that this is a very special birthday celebration for me ... or at least an uncommon one. Instead of the house full of friends until late hours and the famous "picadas MOK" (let me translate that as LOTs and LOTs of finger food), this year was a simple family reunion ... and, I must admit, I wasn't even planning to do that ... My plan was to sleep late on sunday, have breakfast in bed, and rest all day :-) .
But the family was not happy about it and, truth be told, I'm really glad that I had them over tonight.

They left a few minutes ago, and I decided that, before going to bed, I was going to make my "debut" in this new way of communication.

I will soon write again so you can know a bit more about me and my crazy ideas ...

Best regards to all,
Mariano, MarianOK, MOK