Webmail 2.0

One of the really annoying things about starting a new job is learning a completely new infrastructure. Oh it’s not figuring out what 900 Linux hosts do, learning to debug SAN issues, or comprehending the multiple financial businesses my new company is involved in that’s the challenge. The challenge is figuring out how to conveniently read my personal e-mail.

Since most internet access there is restricted or proxied, I decided to just make better use of my webmail setup which runs Squirrelmail. It’s a fine product, but it’s not very flashy, and lacks any sort of Gmail-like conveniences like drag-and-drop message control. Sure I could use ssh to tunnel multiple ports through multiple hosts so that I could run Thunderbird locally, but really web applications like e-mail have gotten a huge boost from “web 2.0” technology like AJAX, so why not?

I spent about an hour looking at various applications, and ended up installing a PHP-based application called RoundCube. The product is still very much in development (you can’t collapse folders, can’t force a message pane at the bottom of the screen, and the inbox list doesn’t always refresh even though it tells you that you have a new message), but looks promising and has a really nice UI. It was simple to set up, so until I stumble upon something better, I’m hooked. It’s definitely high on my “cool AJAX apps” list with mp3act (a really cool streaming music server).

If anyone has any recommendations for other webmail apps (or other must have AJAX-enabled apps), please comment below.

Heck of a Way to Start Off

On Monday, I thought for sure I had somehow managed to avoid the wrath of the dreaded rotavirus that had plagued the little one just a few days before. Ah the sense of humor viruses have. The stomach flu hit me late Monday night, and continued for nearly 24 hours. It felt awful to call in sick on my second week at my new job, but I’m sure they wouldn’t have wanted me there.

The little one is still sick, though now primarily a residual head cold. Fortunately the weekend is soon approaching.

Ready for My Weekend to Start

Friday night I took Lulu for a walk around 11pm. When I got back, Christi was in the little one’s room – in the 15 minutes I was gone, she had woken up sick, been given a quick bath, then gotten sick yet again. She seemed to settle down around midnight, and we all caught some sleep.

Saturday, grandpa and aunt Ruth came over to watch her while Christi and I went to the home inspection. The inspection went pretty much as expected, so aside from some final negotiations, we’re on track to close on March 13th. While at the inspection, we took some photos of the house.

Saturday night, the little one got sick again just after dinner. Then again at midnight. Sunday morning, she was settled down, but listless and lethargic. She slept most of the day, but fussed quite a bit the whole day. I’m ready for my weekend to start now.

Sweet Home Chicago

We’ve been in Chicago a week now, and I swear it must snow every day. Not the kind of heavy snow Virginian’s see (on the rare occasion it actually snows there), but rather a light snow which blows about for hours but hardly sticks to anything. And although 20 degrees here certainly feels colder than in Virginia (perhaps because I’m walking in it for 15 minutes to work instead of the short jaunt from the car to the house or office), I think I rather like this fourth season people seem to be calling “winter”.

I started my new job on Monday and have been pleasantly surprised. The recruiter made CIG out to be a mad house where everyone works 18 hour days and sells their soul to the company. Although I can’t speak for the hours their front office personnel put in, it seems as though their IT department runs like any other hard working IT department. The company seems to care less about titles and management and far more about getting things done, and as such, I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.
To make things even busier, we put a contract on a house in Evanston on Sunday, and negotiated a final price of $527,500 by 11pm Tuesday. We have a home inspection slated for 10am Saturday morning and are still working on loan approval (since our house in Virginia is still for sale). Here’s to hoping that by Saturday everything will have worked itself out so that we can close on March 13.

Late Posting (Part 3)

I’m very, very sad to be back from our third trip to Hawaii. After getting back last time I swore next time would be a one way trip. Every time we go I ponder what it would be like to open a bed and breakfast or just sell everything and buy a hut on the beach. This trip was no exception.

This time we stayed in a condo in Keauhou; ate at the Hapuna Prince Resort and Ke’ei Cafe (among other places); visited the Pololu Lookout, numerous waterfalls near Hilo, and Kilauea (the volcano), snorkeled, hiked, swam, and still found time to relax.

The trip was definitely more challenging with a one year old, both getting to and from the island and getting around while there. Nonetheless, she was a champ with the 15 hours of travel each way and 5 hour time change, as well as the lack of naps as we shuttled here from place to place. It was also more challenging to find food with both my parents and sister in tow, but we happily managed to eat well.

And sadly I broke my promise to not return next time we made the trip. Oh well, there’s always next time.