My first home UNIX box, long ago... A PDP 11/23+ (Q-BUS rocks baby) which required me to unplug everything in the apartment before I powered it up, particularly the two 5 meg RL01 disks and the 10 meg RL02. In those days we would reboot a UNIX box which had been up for a week, we might not have known why, but we knew the price of not doing so. Fast-forward some 20+years. Last year my FreeBSD box which serves xyz.com and many other domains, rebooted for reasons that I never quite understood. I was miffed, the previous reboot had only been three years prior. The same box (on which I'm now typing) has since only been up for less than 8 months. I find myself resentfull of the fact that I've a new server built and configured, ready to replace it, after all, who has any business rebooting a box with less than a year of uptime? What do they think, that I run windows? In the early days we used to not run UNIX on desktopish boxen because it (in the form of SCO Xenix 286) was such a resource hog. MS-DOS rules baby, who needs more than 640K anyhow? The box I mentioned above runs a 700MHz celeron with all of 512meg of memory. Try running windows XP (or god forbid vista) on that. Funny how our perspectives change with time.
NREMT (national registry of emergency medical technicians) out-sources their testing to an outfit called Pearson. This is apparently the norm in this industry as yesterday morning when I presented myself to take the test there were a number of nursing students present. Some of the security precautions taken by Pearson seemed a bit extreme. When I got there the guy in the lobby carefully examined my passport and Oregon driver's license, he photographed me, and scanned my right index finger print. He then had me place all my belongings (watch, walled, everything) in a locker. I was only allowed to take the locker key and my license with me. I dutifully took those items to the next step (about 10 feet away) where I was compared to the picture that had been taken of my no more than 2 minutes before, my driver's license was again scrutinized, and my right index finger was again scanned and the print compared to what it had been so long ago. I was now ushered into the testing room where I was placed in a 4' by 4' cubicle which contained the PC (dell, yuck) I would test on. The whole time I was testing all sound in the room was being recorded and each of the 15 or so cubicles was being video-taped. This was of course in addition to the proctor who was visually monitoring us all from a glass enclosure. NREMT told us we'd have 2 hours 15 minutes, Pearson told us we only had 2 hours, I decided not to panic quite yet. It didn't tell me HOW I had done, just that I was done. The test is one of those adaptive deals. You can get as few as 70 questions or as many as 150. As you do better the computer asks you harder questions, though ultimately fewer of them. I assume that once you achieve some maximum number of incorrect answers it will just stop on you too. About 35 minutes later the system told me I was done. I had no idea if this was because I'd messed up too much or because I'd done well. I've been checking back on the NREMT web site virtually every hour since I left the test yesterday. An hour or so ago I finally got my result:
Examination ScoredCongratulations on passing the NREMT cognitive examination. Your passing result on the cognitive examination will remain valid for a one year period from the date of the examination, 7/26/2007 (provided you meet all current requirements for National EMS Certification.) Please allow 2 weeks for the NREMT to mail out results letters.
Today was really warm, we got to 94F. The bees preferred hanging out outdoors rather than with their queen. The bumble-bee didn't need a choke to start. So Bob and I did what we've been doing virtually every spare moment for the last week and change. We invoked our co-conspirators, we'll call them orange and blue for the sake of anonimity. Initially we had this, converted it to this, then this, all to acomplish this, and finally end up with this. The reward is this.