Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ah Christmas

Well, it went off without a hitch (besides my best attempt at being a Scrooge). Miranda was overall not getting it, which I was totally expecting. She tore into a couple of presents, but that was because she loves to shove paper in her mouth as opposed to any yuletide interests.

Once the toys were open she dutifully went to each one and checked them out. However I am noticing that she has more of an interest in the noisy ones. How come I am not surprised? She got some pretty clothing and noisy toys and lots of pictures taken of her. Fun.

I am definitely looking forward to next year to see how it will be greeted then!

miranda christmas 023

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Hope you had a Merry Christmas. I will be putting up pictures tonight/tomorrow...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The world is clearer now: HD part 2

I am not sure how much HD is on DirecTV... but after finally surfing all the channels that I have on basic now (before I had 60 some odd analog stations, and now have those plus 90 odd digital stations), I have all the normal channels in HD. So I am able to watch both the fox and CBS games in HD, as well as getting PBS, ABC, CW, etc.

So hears to basic comcast cable. Hooray.

Watched soundstage the other night with the Wallflowers in 720p. Pretty sweet. Probably have to move my dolby digital setup upstairs to enjoy the 5.1 sound.

So Miranda is doing well going into the first Christmas. She however has been busy tugging at the presents and at the cat as well. Sigh. And she can really move. Not walking but good enough with the hands to pull anything down within in reach.

miranda 007

Monday, December 18, 2006

Football and HD :)

So recently we picked up a High Def TV as our mutual christmas present to each other. Mostly because our living room is bigger and our old and failing eyesight need the size boost :)

So this last weekend I hooked up an antenna to the TV and with really the only channel we can pickup indoors, we (meaning I) watched Kiro 7's 1080i broadcast of the Cardinals versus the Broncos. It was truly an awe-inspiring TV event. Ok, I might have gone a bit too far on that one. It was definitely impressive and probably one of the better ways to showcase HD is with sports...

I really didn't care about the outcome, but really had a hard time shutting it off and going and doing something constructive. If only I could get the NFC games instead of just being able to pick up CBS.

Whoa!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Power's back

Whew, powers back on. I do hope that all the hundreds of thousands of people are able to get power back soon. It was starting to get bad in terms of our lack of cloth diapers and the fact that the house was ice, ice cold. But Miranda and Michelle spent last night in a hotel and I stayed home to make sure everything came on ok. Of course nothing came on....

I think one of the first orders of business for the spring is to start a better plan of action for when these types of events occur. Even at 50 degrees, it was just too cold in the house.

I also took the time to learn how to start the pellet stove. Unfortunately the thing needs power to run the blower and the auger bit to feed the stove. Oh well.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Hold on tight now

Well Western Washington moved on from the snow storms we got last month and the rain storms the month before to having high wind storms. It really wasn't pleasant. Now we have 1 million homes without power and lots of down trees. Michelle, Miranda and I are fine if not tired and a little cold. Hopefully power will be restored soon.

Storm photo slideshow from KiroTV

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Stability and games

Last night I spent a little bit of time playing Enchanted Arms for the xbox 360. My rough impression is that it is another Final Fantasy game. However this is more of a gripe post, not a review. I was playing and fought two boss characters in a row with lots of dialog and no chance to save when suddenly the xbox locked up. I don't know whether to be mad at the game or the xbox for wasting my time. Ug.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Gaming and Violence

I don't have a problem with violence in games. That completely relies on individuals to be able to separate fantasy from real life. Some things that can be hard for some. But even if you limit violence directly added to games, you will still get some people that will add it in themselves.

How to do anything you want in life

On Grady Booch's blog (of Software Architecture fame and from Rational) recently discussed a Slashdot thread on understanding complex software and code. The best take away from this is:
Professional singers work hard to polish their voices; good writers write and write some more; world-class photographers take lots of pictures; athletes train their bodies through hard yet thoughtful workouts. There is no royal road to becoming a great programmer: it takes dedication, passion, and lots of hard work.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Friday night gaming

Since I recently got a new Xbox 360, which I made reference to in a previous post, I have resumed my Friday night gaming sessions. It seems that the most recent game of choice is the ultra violent Gears of War. I recently completed the single player on easy and found it to be a good story and have gone on to play a lot of multi-player. The game seemed simplistic and straight forward in technic but I am starting to notice little bits of strategy and can be brought into it. I do miss the massive games that we could get using Halo 2, since this is limited to 4 vs. 4 at the most.

Miranda is doing great. Motor skills are almost too good (as she has been unplugging things) and is doing better with solid foods and the sippy cup. So things are going well...

miranda 005

Monday, December 04, 2006

Quick snippet and a link

Well I think that between Miranda and my recent purchase of an Xbox 360 Console Includes 20GB Hard Drive along with Gears Of War, my blogging has taken a back seat. Kinda sad. On the neat note, Miranda is starting to clap. We have been working on it for a while and she now has it down pat. YEAH!

As for the link, I just saw on Andrej Gregov's blog, that Jeff Hawkins talks about when to go the entrepenurial route and when to work your current channels to get ideas funding. I will definitely listen to this tonight.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It doesn't snow in the Pacific Northwest

Honestly, this isn't snow:

wintery weather 008

This is just cotton candy that is falling from the sky:

wintery weather 009

Maybe it was the pillow factory down the street that exploded?

wintery weather 013

Friday, November 24, 2006

It was a good Thanksgiving Day

For that I am thankful. What is better than getting together with friends and eating almost to pain :)

thanksgiving 2006 006

Work perks

I don't normally reference where I work, but I got to experience one of the quirky perks on Wednesday and just had to share. At Amazon, they will bring in 1 or 2 authors, artists, speakers, etc to talk to or perform for Amazon employees. This last Wednesday, they brought in Battlefield Band, who I have not seen since 1997 when they performed at Michigan Tech.

Basically they are back in the states, touring for they latest CD release, Road of Tears. For those that like traditional Scottish music, I do recommend this band.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Recipe: U.P. Stuffing

Rather than type it out again, here is a page on how to make a very meaty stuffing.

Recipe: Sausage Thingie's

Ok, first off I didn't name them, but at least the name is somewhat fitting for this misfit recipe. Althought I have heard that they might go by the name Polish Mistakes but I cannot say here nor there.

Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. sausage (spicy)
  • 1 lb. velveeta
  • 1 loaf cocktail rye
  • 1 whole onion diced (optional)

Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degree F
  2. In a dutch oven, sautee the optional onion
  3. Brown up the ground beef and sausage in the same dutch oven
  4. Drain grease off
  5. Dice up the velveeta
  6. Add the velveeta to the dutch oven and reduce to medium low stirring occasionally until thoroughly melted
  7. On a cookie sheet place the cocktail rye slices
  8. Place one Tablespoon of meat/cheese mixture onto each rye
  9. Place cookie sheet in the oven for 12 minutes
  10. Serve
sausage 1
sausage 2
sausage 3

Listen closely

Was listening to NPR on the way home and what do you know, there is Tom Waits giving an interview about making movie soundtracks and playing from his latest CD, Orphans.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday, sunday, sunday

Coming out of the weekend today, although I am sure that I shouldn't look at my weekends as over till Monday morning, and looking at another day of football and Miranda watch. Also probably going to take a look at Michelle's dresser and see what I will need to do to install some drawer slides to make it easier for her to use.

Today also marks the official release date of the Nintendo Wii gaming system. Not sure how that is going to play out, but I will probably get one once there is a good set of releases that tickle my fancy. The price point is pretty good and the new controller setup is definitely intriguing.

Football wise, it seems to be a very depressing day for the Lions. They may beat the Cardinals, but I hold little faith going into that. Good thing is that I get to watch an NFC north team in the Green Bay Packers, where I can watch Western Michigan alumnus in Greg Jennings.

Miranda is doing well and getting more and more active. She is able to crawl to the laundry basket we have her toys in and pull some out now. Most of time, though she crawls around chasing Tigger.

miranda 004

Monday, November 13, 2006

ESPN, what have you done?

Mike mentioned in one of his earlier posts how annoying it is to have guests in booth during Monday night football and I think I have to reiterate on that thought. During tonight's game between Tampa Bay and Carolina, Jeff Gordon was on to help promote ESPN soon picking up NASCAR and ? To congratulate his second marriage?

Sigh...

If you are going to sell me something, do something football related or more related to the programming I am watching. Don't push Desperate Housewives, Dancing with the stars or NASCAR on me. Aren't the commercials enough??!! Maybe it isn't, but given that this is on a paid channel (i.e. cable or dish) then why am I paying more?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Iron Chef America: Battle Cranberry

So it looks like the Food Network is doing another cross show gimmick was by pitting two of hosts against each other in kitchen stadium. Tonight it is Rachel Ray and Giada De Laurentiis and they are teamed up with Mario Batali and Bobby Flay respectively. Generally I am not a big fan of these gimmicks and this is not any different.

Of note though, both of these hosts would have difficulty without the Iron Chefs to help as they don't seem to have the time management needed. Also it seems like the Batali/Ray side is not terribly friendly whereas the De Laurentiis/Flay side is smiling and a little more organized.

Not sure who will win... not sure if I will even bother to watch the end. All I know is my Lions lost... again. Sigh.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Got an opinion on restaurants?

I know that everyone is a critic so why not help one of my friends by reviewing some restaurants you have been to on his site, Foodry. He even created a nifty blog widget so you can keep the consumers of your reviews up to date.

I spent some time reviewing alot of my old haunts from when I lived in St. Joe, and have reviewed a couple of the restaurants I visited in the PacNorWest. I probably won't be adding the blog widget though since my blog is cluttered enough as is.

My profile on Foodry

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Office Pranks

Have you ever wanted to prank an officemate while they are on vacation? Do you love Gummi Bears?

Buy Haribo Gummi Bears!

Images of the prank: Haribo Gummi Bears Prank

Discuss amongst yourselves: Haribo Gummi Bears Discussion

Personalized Search results

John Battelle's Searchblog recently posted about the launch of a new search company, Collarity, that tailors your results to your preferences in a hope of better sifting through the cesspool that is our lovely schminternet.


By tracking the search terms, url choices, and selections of users and visitors, Collarity responds to a user's 'hot spot of interest' (i.e. query) with sites visited by expert-users in that area.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Review: The Long Tail

The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson is a book that explores how people shop and purchase and compares it to how they did this over the last 40 years to come up with a new theory of niches and individual tastes. Chris shows how the age of mega blockbuster is coming to a close. As part of that statement he shows that the numbers as a whole are going up as general consumption is going up, but as a percentage of the population and of the purchases dollars spent, it is steadily decreasing. Mr. Anderson utilizes Rhapsody, iTunes, and Amazon.com are leading the way in offering huge selections to feed our very individualistic tastes. We no longer have to be satisfied by the stock of the local record store, or by what the small B. Dalton located in the mall to drive what we could buy. If I have a taste for Industrial Alternative Carnival music, then now I can truly buy music that fits that genre.

The problem that Chris points at though is how can consumers find these items. How can I find the Surf Green KitchenAid StandMixer? (Did you know there are 24 colors of KitchenAid StandMixers?) How do I find new music to fit my taste or a new author or work that fits my need to read? It was possible for the old time record store clerk to handle their catalog, but can any one person handle 300,000+ albums in their head and Amazon carries many, many more than that...

I enjoyed the book as a sort of mental exercise where I utilized his problem space (even though I sit in it at work) and tried to think of ways to surface those things that are not commonly shown since they aren't mainstream. The problem is really surfacing those to the right people. I recommend this book as a look at marketing to niches and the smaller, avid consumers within.

Review: On Intelligence

On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins, is a book that rethinks the way we think in an attempt to further define why computer scientist and mathematicians have had trouble creating artificial intelligence. But the book goes further than that, by explorer the human consciousness that defines our intelligence. One of the primary proofs that Jeff puts forth is that our computers today run at nearly 3 GHz and yet cannot produce the same results as a computer at image recognition, sound recognition, or any other form of pattern analysis, and yet the human brain can run about 100 MHz (as defined by mathematical computation).

Jeff postulates that our mind is wired for patterns partly because we are always predicting what stimulus will come next. We see lightening, so our brain anticipates hearing thunder. We hear a siren so we anticipate seeing an ambulance or fire truck. Many of his ideas have a good deal of merit from my non-expert level opinion because it gives us another way to attack the problem of pattern analysis, which could lead to better disease analysis, weather prediction, or other problem solving activities. I highly recommend this to dabblers in expert systems and like as well to those that are interested in neocortex of the brain.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sunday

Sunday was a pretty good day. We went out to eat in the morning to Salty's at Redondo Beach with our friends Ali, Steph, and Darius. Was a lot of fun and Miranda was great. Never cried once and we were there for 2 hours (it is a huge buffet of seafoody goodness and you really have to pace yourself).

Otherwise, the Lions won (although I had to content myself with the highlight reel) and the I bought two old "new" games for the gamecube which have both proven interesting.

miranda 016

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What I have an accent?

It tells me I have an inland North accent. I thought I spoke true engrish...english.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The Northeast
Philadelphia
North Central
The South
The West
Boston
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Rememberance and a shout out

It is funny that as one gets involved in all the aspects of one's life, it is easy to get totally absorbed in it, so much so that you forget about many things that are not directly in your path of vision. For one, I am a gamer and musician as hobbies, but those has fallen to the wayside to my new job as Dad. For the most part, I don't miss them all the time, but there are events that bring those things to the forefront and then I truly begin to miss them. Maybe someday I will have time? More likely I will have to make time and reduce my sleep :)

As for the shout out, it is directly related to what led me to miss writing, playing, and performing music. My friend Ish just posted about how he has now got some time scheduled to do some recording. Thankfully he gave some links to his music that he recorded in the past and I got to enjoy those this morning as I came into work. Ish, if you read this, I have always been in complete and utter awe at your talents and abilities. The songs I downloaded were incredible. I remember hanging out and jamming once, and most of the time I forgot to play because I was enamored of what you could create. Thank you.

And because I feel obligated to post pictures of my daughter when I do post...
miranda_halloween 018

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

I am reusing a costume today, but I just wanted to shout out: Happy Halloween!


mullet_front1

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Truck and Miranda

So yesterday, I took my truck in to be looked at. It is a 2001 Dodge Dakota R/T. It was due for it's oil change, but I had just recently had new shocks put onto it and some other things of note started to appear. First off, the shock place told me either the steering column is bent or crooked. Second off, I have noticed a metal on metal bang whenever I hit certain types of bumps (ones that drop off suddenly). So it turns out that the steering column is fine, but my steering wheel is what is bent. The bend isn't serious enough to need a repair on it, but the wear and tear the bend is causing required a new clockspring gear (which is what allows the power to move through movable column). As for the rattling, the garage said that it looked like was caused by the exhaust pipe hitting on the new shocks. Sigh. Luckily I had enough time left in the day to run down to Midas to see what they had to say (since they installed the exhaust system). The put it up for free and did their best to identify where it could be coming from, but it definitely was not coming for the exhaust system and the spare tire seemed to be fine as well, so for now the noise will likely remain a mystery and an annoyance.

As for Miranda, she is doing great. Crawling is becoming easier for her and she is able to easily handle objects. She is not much for babbling, but is definitely spoiled as she likes to use both mom and dad as a jungle gym to climb on. Today I was eating an apple (a darn good honey crisp) and she decided she wanted one as well, so I let he suck on the apple which she thoroughly enjoyed.

Dar, I hate the time change

Even when it works in you favor (more sleep), it never really seems to help. Miranda was up early this morning and I was up late. Sigh. I know it is meant as a way for companies to save money on power bills so that they can arrange themselves around daylight hours, but still making people shift an hour does not seem to to work so well. Well at least for me.

No pic today. Maybe later on.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

6 month checkup

Well Miranda had her 6 month checkup yesterday. Doctor was real pleased with how she is growing and progressing. Surprised to hear she is crawling. The doctor also continues to monitor the birthmark on Miranda's head.

But there were shots, four of them to be exact. I hate shots, and I think Miranda hates them too, because Miranda cried a lot last night. We gave some baby tylenol before and then when we could again, but you could tell she was just so uncomfortable.

So for those that care:
  • 6 months, 1 week, 6 days
  • 16 lbs., 10 oz.
  • 27 inches


And a shot in her halloween costume:
miranda_halloween_preschool 005

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Miranda update!

miranda 010

Well Miranda just started crawling this weekend so we had to start moving all things out of reach. Plus Tigger now has to be a bit more careful as he can't just lay around on the floor or Miranda will get to him. Otherwise, with the added mobility, she is trying more foods and hates sleep more and more.

So things are well.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

FIU vs Miami

It has taken me a little bit of time to post about this. Mostly I wanted to see what type of fall out occurs to the players and coaches before I give me thought on this event. My first take away from this is that Miami is doing nothing to get rid of its rebel reputation. Secondly, the conference does not put a huge penalty of fighting.

So here are the stats I was able to pull up:
Miami suspended 12 individuals for 1 game. Technically suspended the one game by the conference.
Miami suspended 1 player indefinitely.
FIU suspended 16 players for 1 game via the conference.
FIU dismissed 2 players from the team.

I don't know how others feel about the topic but a one game suspension for fighting. At a game. That is ridiculous, those that were in it heavy should be out for 3 games. It is behavior that these "adults" should not be getting into. But at the college level, this isn't a job? No professionalism? Sigh, maybe I am becoming an old fuddy-duddy.

Links:
Extended Suspensions and Dismissals
Video of Brawl

Product Review: KitchenAid Blade Coffee Grinder

Recently bought the KitchenAid BCG100WH Blade Coffee Grinder to replace my Braun coffee grinder and I can say that I am really impressed. I have had the KitchenAid grinder for about 2 weeks now and it is the best low cost grinder that I have played with. First off the noise level when grinding is a lot less than that of Braun. It is still loud, but it is more like a car without its muffler versus a 767 talking off. Second, it is super easy to clean. Before the Braun would take forever to clean as grinds would get stuck is the seam between the metal and the plastic. With the KitchenAid, the entire basin is metal and dishwasher safe. The plastic cover does occasionally get grind it the lip, but they quickly wash out with a rinse of water. As for the grind quality, it does a good job, but you are not going to use this with your expresso machine.

Pros:
  • Easy to clean!!!
  • Quieter than many other models
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Price

Cons:
  • Won't do expresso grind...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Humans are like poison?

Saw a recent article talking about the impacts that humans have had on the earth and other living species and the environment. I find it interesting to see that the majority of what they mention points toward the fact that it takes a short (geological) amount of time to remove the majority of what we have done to the planet. However there are some very long term items that take a longer period of time for the planet to recover.

Even with a hefty amount of speculative science, it still is an interesting read. But it does feel like they are describing what happens if you quit smoking...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Get you movie download on!

The folks over at Techcrunch have done a side by side comparison of 5 movie download services. It is very interesting to see the catalog size and pricing scheme that each company has put into place.

I would love to use a movie download service but I don't think the studio gets it. Why should I pay as much for a DVD when I don't get the same stuff? I don't get the extras, I don't get the commentary tracks and I don't get different languages (not that I used them). On top of that, the studio doesn't have to pay to stamp the DVD and box art, nor do they have to ship them and get them on shelves. So Studios, tell me again why it is the same price?

Here is something a little more tolerable:
  • $1.29 TV shows
  • $12.99 new release movies
  • $8.99 back catalog movies
  • $2.99 new release rentals
  • $1.99 back catalog rentals
On top of the pricing scheme, as soon as a movie has finished it's theater run, it should be available for purchase.

Amazing

Well the Lions won. I don't know what the chances were, but they completely blew up Andy's winless prediction leaving the only winless team to be the luckless raiders. Plus I got to watch this game where they won.

Comparing yesterday's Lions to those that played the Seahawks, I can definitely see a change. I have to say that the Lions defense has shown a definite weakness in the secondary, but the defensive line is showing a lot of flash and fire that I have not seen. The offense however is clicking. They make mistakes still but there is some crispness to the routes and the blocking schemes seem to be pulling together. Overall, I think the future looks a bit brighter, but not really the near future. I am ok with that.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Aquaman: Pilot Episode

I bought this on a whim, probably due to the low threshold of pain at $2. First off, I will state that I have enjoyed Smallville to some degree and as this was a spinoff, I had assumed that it would be of a similar style and level of acting.

However, this is not the case. The style is roughly the same, but this is actually more Buffy than Smallville. A.C. aka Orin aka Aquaman is a 19-22 year old ecoterrorist that has superhuman abilities when doused with salt water. There is the old guard of Atlantis that is there to guide and teach Orin through his being accustomed to his new lot in life. There is the friendly bar keeper and friend of A.C. who believes what ever wacked out story he tells her. There is A.C. step father who is part of the coast guard and plays only a slight role in the show.

Pros of the show:
- set in Florida for those that like to watch trim ladies and fellas romping around
- comic centric beginnings story
- Monsters to fight

Cons of the show:
- Eva the Barkeep believes every weird thing that A.C. says
- I didn't know that there were millions lost in the bermuda triangle
- Acting was flat (although this is pretty common in pilots until the actors get comfortable in their new skin)
- Aquaman's varied strength, sometimes strong, sometimes a wus.

Overall, I don't think I would watch the series if they ever extended it. I do recommend that others take a spin of the pilot and see if they are as negative as I am about this. I mean, it is only $2.

Aquaman: Pilot Episode

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I have a recommendation for "Yahoo! Recommends"

Hey Yahoo!

Your Launchcast service provides an interesting way to get lots of music without carrying around my music collection. It was interesting enough for me to pay the money to get higher quality sound samples and no commercials (although I did love the Men of Genius commercials).

However of late, you have been pushing a lot of "Yahoo! Recommends" selections. Now you have over 1000 ratings that I have put in your system. Based on all that very targeted information, you still manage to play Jay-z, Mario, Nickelback, and other artists that I am not that interested in. I might be interested in paying an extra dollar a month for you to quit doing that. Take out the whole phrasing. Call it "Yahoo! Pushing new Crack" because recommends to me implies that it is tailored to me somehow.

However in the end, I am likely to quit paying you any money because of this. I am looking for a radio that I don't have to interact with and now am forced to hit skip every third or fourth song because of your marketing BS that I thought I had paid my way around.

So Yahoo!, bite me,

Aaron

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Did the Lions lose again

Well, another Sunday, another Lions loss. Sigh. Another time to be thankful, I can't watch them out here.

More Miranda stuff:



miranda

Friday, October 06, 2006

Week gone by, where did it go.

Well just wrapping up a week. Not terribly much happened. I tried to take care of Miranda Wednesday night but she refused solid food and the bottle. I guess she wanted mom to be home. I feel bad for having to call her to come back and help, but Miranda was hungry and there was nothing I could do. She did eventually cry herself back to sleep.

Otherwise things have been good. She is crouching and rocking so crawling can't be too far away. She is also getting closer to sitting up on her own. Also she is getting better at pulling herself up to the standing position, but doesn't always identify standing opportunities. And she is also getting much better hand-eye coordination, as when she reaches for things, she actually grabs them. Poor tigger gets alot of the grabbing attention.

Over the weekend, no plans. We should clean up the laundry/furnace room since we are having the furnace replaced next week. I might get my shocks replaced on the truck as they are leaking fluid. I would like to start reviewing all the books that I have read recently. We'll see which items get popped to the top.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday with Miranda

Spent the day with Miranda and watched some football. Couple of good games on out in the west side of the country. Thought I would share some pics of Miranda though.

miranda 019

miranda 006

Friday, September 29, 2006

Stop the killing

You mean that Video games make people violent? I could have sworn that is was rock music or violent movies.

I propose the Internet is it's own separate nation

I have been kinda following Brazil's subpoena of Google. This kind of stuff gives me the willies as I have always felt that the internet is this happy little state of anarchy that moves of its own will and volition. Now with governments such as China, Brazil, and the United States pushing their grubby little hands all over my beautiful schminternet, I am afraid. Wouldn't it be better that the data is governed by an oversight nation of Internetia? Or that it is governed by the U.N.? Or any country that wants to push on a company? Google's data is owned by Google (and the users I think, but I do doubt that). If there is a Google Brazil, then their might be legal access to this regardless of soil. But if Google Brazil is separate from Google, then there is none.

I can now see the day when Russia sues bloglines for many times that I constantly insult their nation. Sigh.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

This sounds like a great money saver... maybe

So you want multiple monitors; one for web browsing, one for coding or other work, and one for entertainment (music, video, etc). But having a computer to support all that and the cost of monitors is outrageous. Well it looks like Sharp has created something to to get rid of at least the monitor cost.

I really like this idea if the cost is less than that of 3 monitors. Plus would save on power using only one backlight!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Scrum et al.

Just finished watching this presentation on the Scrum agile framework for software development and wondered what it would be been like on my work at Whirlpool many moons ago? And I am not just talking about using from a software standpoint. What about using it to build appliances? Maybe it isn't a month, but it could be 2 months and then you have to show a "sellable" product. Sigh.

Google Tech Talks
September 5, 2006

Ken Schwaber co-developed the Agile process, Scrum. He is a founder of the Agile Alliance and Scrum Alliance, and signatory to the Agile Manifesto. Ken has been a software developer for over thirty years. He is an active advocate and evangelist for Agile processes.

ABSTRACT
Scrum is an amazingly simple process that causes many, many changes when it is implemented. This seminar presents the basic framework of Scrum and some of the implementation issues associated with it.

Uggh. Sick.

Well back being ill. It had been quite a while which makes it a little bit better. The worse part is that Miranda is sick too and maybe even Michelle. Looks like sinus infections for everyone!

Wanted to post about the Lions loss. Just like the old Lions that defensively got tired cause the offense can't give them a break. Sad really. I hope they can find that fire or timing to make it through 4 quarters.

Also, many don't know of my deep hatred for Sony. I haven't had good luck with their products or customer service (going back) and haven't bought many Sony products because of that (PS2 included). But this video of a game on the PS3 has me drooling. White Knight

Friday, September 22, 2006

Almost could watch baseball again...

Interesting article on Disruptive Innovation on the baseball diamond.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Friday, September 15, 2006

Lions: What I saw last weekend

I had thought about replying to Andy in the comments, but decided this was best served in it's own post. I didn't see the same old team. I saw a different team but only a couple games will tell. Did they make mistakes? Yes. Was their offense next to useless? Nope, it was useless. But they played 4 quarters of football and played with some fire that I haven't seen in quite some time.

So do I have something to look forward to this season? I am not sure, but that games should be alot better than last year if they keep up this desire to actually win games.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

YEAH!

How to improve Lion's fans morale...

Not sure if drinking before noon would make me feel better, but calling for some heads might.

Do you know any good science fiction?

goodscifi
Since I am avid Amazon.com purchaser, a couple of folks I know have created a "goodscifi" book club. If you know of a particular book that is good science fiction (NOT fantasy) feel free to use Amazon's tagging feature (on a product's detail page, press 'tt' (t twice) and it will allow you to tag the item). Basically my theory is that since the death of R.A.H. there has been a huge void in the positive humanity science fiction, feel free to prove me wrong.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Detroit Lions predictions

Well, I have been putting this off for too long and now they are going to be playing their first game of the season tomorrow. After catching highlights of the Lions in the offseason (it counts if it is a highlight for the other team with the Lions in it, right?) and also listening to the analysts and coaches, I think I can come to a pretty good conclusion of a 6-10 season.

vs SeattleLoss
at ChicagoLoss
vs Green BayWin
at St. LouisLoss
at MinnesotaWin
vs BuffaloWin
at NY JetsWin
ByeBye
vs AtlantaLoss
vs San FranciscoWin
at ArizonaLoss
vs MiamiLoss
at New EnglandLoss
vs MinnesotaWin
at Green BayLoss
vs ChicagoLoss
at DallasLoss


Of course injuries happen and this is just a prediction from a fan that hasn't had the even lovin' hope beaten completely out of him... Just painful. I thought about putting up scores, but that just didn't seem right. To many points against and not enough for. I hope they prove me wrong, I just don't see it happening this year.

Maybe it is better for Harrington to be gone. Please just win, if not for me, do it for the kids

Friday, September 08, 2006

Amazon Unbox Review

Amazon Unbox Video Downloads is a new product category released by Amazon yesterday centered around providing downloadable media such as movies and television shows. At first I thought this idea was not terribly compelling. Why would I want to get a movie that I don't have a physical copy of? Plus there are so many limitations with the devices I can play it on. So first the basics:

Hardware Needs:
  • Broadband
  • Windows XP computer (Mediacenter edition fine too)
  • Portable device that supports Windows Plays for Sure technology
  • Free Hard Disk space > 10 gig

Pricing
  • Movies are the same price as their physical versions
  • TV shows are $1.99 an episode (reduced for full seasons)
  • Anime TV shows are $3.99

My experience
Last night I decided that I would give this service a try. I first started the download and install of the Amazon client application. I think this step should be done right away as it took quite a while to complete (mostly because of the requirement of .NET 2.0). While that was going on (it took 20 minutes), I started browsing the selection on the site. I have to say that while they have a good start of a selection, it has a long, LONG way to go. I had decided that since they were offering a free TV episode download, I would pick up a show. Remembering that I had missed the last two episodes of CSI last season, I went to the CSI page, checked the ones I wanted and went through with the One-click payment (tm). Immediately the Amazon client app notified me it had started downloading. IN THE REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER! Argh. I could have switched it, but I let it continue just to test it. About 2 minutes into the download, a popup on my desktop told me that I could start watching the show as it continued. I have to say that the quality was awesome of video. Clear, crisp, and the same as DVD. I did notice little drops in framerates every so often, but I attribute that to my PC. Of course my PC is a 2.6 ghz with an ATI 9000 video card and 1 gig of RAM... I do wish that I had a portable device just to test that portion of the software out... But overall I was impressed with the interaction between the Amazon store and the Amazon application.

Things I really like
  • Don't have to keep the content on your computer (watch it, delete it, redownload if you want to watch again)
  • Can keep content on 2 computers and 2 portable devices (share and share alike)
  • If I move again, I don't have to pack up my 300 DVDs
  • Video Quality

Things I don't like
  • Ability to select storage drive! (I have two HDD, my main drive is only 30 gigs while my content drive is 200 gigs. It automatically used the 30 and won't let me change that.)
  • Does this thing do Dolby 5.1 or DTS? I somehow doubt it. Will have to test later, but I am leaving a negative for now.
  • Pricing is attrocious. Why should I pay the same for physical media when I know there are no packaging costs?
  • 20 minutes to install the client?
  • Can't burn to DVD
  • Automatically downloading in the wrong order

Things I really want
  • High Def Content!
  • Support for iPod video
  • More selection
  • What do I do with my large library of DVDs? Can I get downloadable versions of it? Can I load my movies into the tool?

Summary
Overall, I am impressed. Things went smoothly. Purchase and download are frightfully easy. Mostly I am concerned with the negative aspects of the service in pricing, my need to select my content drive, and I am an audiophile and need my DTS/5.1. But if they can overcome those three, this would easily replace my content needs and I would gladly go away from DVD's or whatever is next. Down with blu-ray and hd-dvd.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

American Traitor

Gov. Ryan get 9 years

Somehow the thought of the American populace paying for this man to sit in prison makes me sick. The fact that any elected official can lie, cheat, and steal from the constituency is attrocious. He and his kind are traitors. That simple. Of course that could be just the side effect of trying to centralize power at higher and higher levels which makes it difficult for laws and policy to truly reflect people in various regions.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Friends from college

First off. Happy Birthday Andy. Not sure if it is today or not, as my memory is not the greatest but either way hope your birthday was wonderful and spent entirely in your birthday suit.

In other notes, "Fluffy" Dave came out to Seattle to give a seminar so I spent some time showed a bit of the city but mostly chit-chatted and enjoyed some good company. It was totally awesome. As part of that, with my self-imposed exile from the midwest, I feel very disconnected from my Troupe siblings. It is good to see any of them and just think of the "good old times" (tm), at the same point see where things have taken then. There is something about improv though that forges a close family connection with those that work together. That level of trust and caring really makes for amazing improv and I have to say for a team of individuals as transient as students, I think MTU (and Sue) have created a "force of extraordinary magnitude."

As for the fluffy part of "Fluffy" Dave, that is from Amanda. When I was in troupe, there was only one Dave, because DC was after my time with the troupe.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Nintendo Wii

Ok, I guess I have always been a Nintendo fan and this 24 minute video of the Wii gameplay just further adds fuel to the fire.
IGN Look at Wii in Germany

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Some form of football... ahhh.

So football is finally upon us. Yesterday, I watched a couple different college football games while at a cookout at some friends of ours. The games that I watched were not all the important. The fact that I was watching football games where the outcome of the game had serious meaning was important, at least to me.

Preseason professional games are ok, but the only thing on the line are some of the players' jobs. I prefer when you have the teams chances at post-season play threatened. You get to see (hopefully) some teamwork and the top flight players giving 100%, which you are unlikely to see in the preseason.

So while the guys were inside (on a gorgeous day) watching football, the girls were outside talking. Not sure what they were talking about, but Miranda was a great little girl. She is sitting up pretty good now. We have to put here there but she is starting to learn that sitting is the best position to play in.

I will write my Lions prediction post later this week, but wanted to write a brief paragraph about Charles Rogers (ex-Lions receiver, released yesterday). I was excited when the Lions drafted him in 2003. He had great hands, excellent quickness and was tall, about everything one could hope for in a receiver. I have since added one criteria to evaluating all players of the game: single-minded focus on excellence. I don't know Charles Rogers personally, but from afar he seems more interested in collecting a paycheck and smoking dope than playing a good game of football and that is sad. So Good Bye, Charles, I would've hoped for a couple memories.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

PAX 2006 Saturday Review

This last weekend I had the joy of going to the Penny Arcade Expo located in Bellevue, Washington. For those that don't know, the best way to describe this is to just say that it is a gigantic party for the readers of Penny Arcade. Now the readers tend to be geeks of all types (video games, board games, card games, manga, anime, comic books, etc) which leads ot a pretty fun environment for like-minded individuals. This year there was definitely a shortage of space in all parts of the event.

I started the morning racing to the Halo 2 tournament to get a slot. Needless to say, I didn't get to play as I was the odd person out (it was 4 man teams). So after burning 2 hours trying to get into the tournament, I decided to sit in my despondent mood and watch people. I was joined shortly by some friendly fellows (Chris and Matt I believe). I tried to get in the free play area for computer games and console games, but both lines were incredibly long. when I tried last year, I got a grand total of 10 minutes of PC play and 30 minutes of console play for the time I had spent waiting in line.

Next I left the conference center to go stand in line for the expo hall (yes the line was that long). I was very impressed with how quickly the line moved and before I knew it, I was in this loud, vibrant room that played to almost all senses. The Microsoft was good with selections of the newest Age of Empire on PC which was very impressive when I gave it a whirl. Also there was Lego Star Wars 2 and also 5 or 6 xbox 360 games that I didn't get a chance to play but sat and enjoyed the wonderful sounds and graphics. The Ubisoft booth had a few setups to play some of the new and upcoming games, but also had a gigantic projection system to show off trailers of their new games. Nintendo was one that I was really looking forward to as I really wanted to see the Wii in action. I didn't see it there, no anything to do with the Gamecube. Everything was very, very DS oriented and they had about 30 game stations setup. There were a bunch of card game booths (sorry, didn't dig deep into those). NCsoft had a booth setup next to D&D online booth. NVidia had a booth that was so packed that I could get within 15 feet of because there was a layer of 8 deep in people crammed around it, so I skipped it and picked up some Penny-Arcade tee shirts, books, and pictures.

I then headed over to their second facility at one of the local hotels conference areas for the tabletop/card game areas via the shuttlebus that they had setup. And by shuttlebus, I mean a greyhound bus running every 10 minutes or so. I ended up spending about 6 hours at this area soaking the atmosphere and the much more friendly gamers. There was a room setup for folks to do some Star Wars LARPing as well as a very large room with eight 25 foot tables as well as a bunch of smaller tables setup. I was slightly disappointed when 60% of the room was setup just for organized tournaments (the new card game Spoils and also the PA organized tourneys) as there was not enough tables to do pickup games. The room was so crowded the AC couldn't keep up and they had peopling playing games in the hall. Out of pure serendipity, I ended up playing games with the same people I did last year (David and Larsen). We played Chrononauts, Ninja Burger, and Pink Godzilla Dev Kit. In addition to David and Larsen, hooked up with a bunch of other folks to play more of the same. In review of the games, they were fun. I own both Chrononauts (time travel card game where you manipulate the timeline to match your time line) and Ninja Burger (delivery your burger in 30 minutes or less without being seen), but Pink Godzilla was released at PAX and I think I will buying before too much longer. In that one you play a game development company and you are competiting with other companies to make the best games the quickest.

Overall the conference was overwhelming and crowded but I really, really appreciate the time and effort that all the enforcers, planners, and organizers put into the event. It was just a tremendous blast. Thank you Gabe, Tycho and company and I will see you all again next year!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Pluto, I mourn thee

So I was initially bummed out by removing Pluto from the mix of planets. I thought of all the literature and such that would need be rewritten and foudn heart that the web has become very integrated in peoples lives and all it takes is a slight change to wikipedia to change the web's encyclopedia entry.

It is probably best for astronomy as a whole to define planets and other heavenly bodies. Why didn't they do this before? Did they just say, "Hey, you are a planet." I just don't know, maybe Matches can enlighten me. I just have to ask though is where my class M or class O planets are? Why not borrow Star Trek and start classifying all heavenly bodies? Maybe they are and I am not into that scene enough to know it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Back from the midwest!

Well we just spent two weeks hanging out in the midwest. Specifically in Michigan and Minnesota. We had lots of fun, but at the same point travelling has become much more stressful. Miranda did well but wow, is it hard to travel with an infant, let alone be travelling for 2 weeks. But we made it.
miranda in midwest 170

So we got to see a ton of family and friends, which is great. We handed out a bunch of cards to our websites and to our photo album. For those that are looking for all the pictures we have in flickr, you will need to be a flickr member (it's free) and let me know what your flickr account is so that I can add you to my circle of trust. You can't just blindly trust everyone on the internet.

Also we got to go see Joy (Michelle's cousin) and Jeremy get married. It really was a beautiful ceremony and a fun reception with great food and music. Unfortunately Michelle missed alot of the ceremony as Miranda decided to mess up her diaper and then demand to be fed. Timing was impeccable.
jeremy and joy's wedding

tomwaits_ticket
Finally, my brother took me to Chicago to see Tom Waits at the Auditorium Theatre. The show was just plain awesome. The played many of my recent favorites as well as some stuff that I didn't recognize. The sound setup was great as well as all the musicians. One of the highlights had to be during one of the encores when they did Murder in the Red Barn as a more bluesy version instead of the clanging version. It was just a plain fun experience and I owe it all to my brother. Thanks!


So to wrap it up, THANK GOODNESS WE ARE BACK IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST! I need a break :)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Going underground...

So I am going to be off the blogging for a while as well of my normal news sites. Want to get some reading done and other misc stuff. Will resume normally unscheduled random posts when I feel like it again.

And Andy, where is my picture comment?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

1 year in review

Today was my 1 year anniversary at my new job. It is amazing what can happen in a year and how much I have had the opportunity to learn. In retrospect, I am still glad for the decision that I made to come out here.

The primary reason for leaving my last job was for a better opportunity. There is only so much you can do with software in a metal bending company. They don't see it as an opportunity to gain new avenues of cash flow. They see it only as a necessary evil and cost to run the machinery. I wanted to experience what happens when software is the primary driver of cash. In this case, the software enables the sale of goods, but that is a heck of a lot closer.

Another main reason for leaving my last job, was two of main thought leaders (imho) left the company. They were the reason I was still there that long. Some may say that is loyalty to your boss/boss's which leads being trapped in a position or stagnation. In this case, these two exemplified true leadership. The kind that creates a vision of what needs to get done and infects those around them with the desire to carry that vision to. Beyond that, they did what they said. Simply that.

So they left, and I did too. That is not to say that all the people I respected left. In fact there are still some very brilliant people there that I wish I could steal away!

Besides changing employers and regions, which I must say the Pacific Northwest is gorgeous minus the horrific traffic flow design, our family expanded. That just adds to the joy of things and the new learnings there. It is quite the perspective changer. It also brings a little more worry to my life, but we try our best.

So what do I have? I job I enjoy and am learning from. New, brilliant people I get to work with. A gorgeous daughter, I get to spoil. A new area to explore.

Brilliant!

miranda smiles

Registered for PAX

Going to Penny Arcade Expo again this year. Only going for Saturday though.

If you like gaming and are not going, shame on you.

Interested in going? Get pre-registered.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Just sending out a wild and wacky happy birthday to Matches!

Moo! Don't panic!

So when do you panic? Do you panic when it is 6 hours till your assignment or presentation is due? Do you panic when you forgot your shampoo while you are sitting on an airplane traveling? Maybe it was your contact solution? Do you panic when you are sitting in traffic trying to get to your doctor appointment on time?

In all these cases, it makes zero sense to panic. It is either out of your control or you have waited too long to plan / panic. Instead, why not panic about the fact that you need to pay for your child's college? Yes, I know it is 10-15 years away. Why not panic about the fact that you need knee replacement surgery after the years of overweight and abuse? I know you don't need it now. Why not panic about what you are going to be working on next year? Oh, you will worry about that when it gets here.

It is all about taking action now so that you don't panic then when it is completely out of your control. Start getting healthy now. Plan your finances. Work on your ideas that you are passionate about.

Based on a snippet from essay, PANIC AT
INAPPROPRIATE TIMES
, from the book, The Big Moo

Review: Mind Wide Open

Mind Wide Open by Steven Johnson (author of Emergence) is a book about a journey into the workings into the human brain in an attempt to create a better self awareness of your responses to external stimuli. Mr. Johnson shows how the personality tests of old and theories of previous psychologists are presented using modern technology to paint a picture of the brains responses to stress, fear, love, joy, creativity and more.

I enjoyed this book. Mr. Johnson's words about self-awareness reverberated with the way I feel. A better knowledge of self may not be able to create a "super-human" out of you, but it can help explain your phobias, or tension breaking patterns in terms of brain chemistry at play and perhaps help you deal with the former and work within the latter. One of the interesting experiments that Mr. Johnson talks about is his desire to see what his brain is doing during the creation and formulation of his work and craft, writing. So he goes through a series of tests in a fMRI machine to show what his brain is doing during simple tasks like reading others works or reading his own works, but he also has the chance to show what his brain is during while formulating ideas and concepts.

I do recommend this book, it is a good read, and is light on the neuroscience (just enough for the layman) but strong on the concept of knowing yourself.

I do recommend this one for you, Jay!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Net neutrality again

I found an interesting article on Bluedot where they compare the internet to our streets and sidewalks.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Northwest heat wave . . . again

So yesterday here got to about 93 degrees fahrenheit. Today should be 94 and then a slow decent into the normal upper 70s. I know that there is a heat wave for the entirety of July going on in Europe right now and the East Coast of the US just got hit by a couple week one, but I am just not cut out for this.

One thing, I sorely miss right now from our old house is the air conditioning. Right now we are looking into our budget to see if we can swing getting this out here. Part of it is our comfort, and part is for the fish and cat to be a little more comfortable. Well so that I don't lose anymore fish to the heat. Today I tried the ice method, which I didn't want to do, but the tank water was above 84 degrees (which is how far up my thermometer goes).

Otherwise things are good. Michelle is bummed. Since she is home all day, it is hard to make friends and is very lonely. Soon Miranda and Michelle will be starting pre-school and hopefully that will help. But Miranda is doing good. It is just darn cool to watch as she learns more and more and is gaining the strength to do more and more. She is more comfortable on her stomach now and is starting to push herself up a bit (like a seal). She can sit in my lap and keep herself upright as long as she holds on to my hands to steady her.

Early yesterday before it got hot, Michelle was lucky enough to get a photo of her while she was checking out the living room.

miranda 001

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fort Knight ep. 4: A Lost Hope

I wouldn't really call this an interview as I am not affiliated with Bluedot and I am just a user of it. So I will say that Matches gave me the opportunity to co-host his technology video blog as we covered this social bookmarking site.



Fort-Knight Tonight, Episode 4 on Vimeo

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Fort-Knight Tonight, Episode 3



A friend of mine and his love of technology. What more can you ask for. I am very impressed with his use of technology, and video editting software as well as his content.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Call of the Mall and an update on Miranda

Going with a two-fer post since Andy must not be getting his weekly allowance of Amazon links and Miranda posts!

Call of the Mall

Call of the Mall by Paco Underhill is an excellently written work that explores the geography of mall usage as well as a bit of a history of suburban and urban malls. First off, I was caught by the writing style as it was easy to follow and yet full of good information. Paco explores everything from mall security to food courts to discount jewelry stores being next to Tiffany's. He goes into analyzing the shopping habits of men, women, and teenage girls. He talks about the barrier between the mall and store and how to entice customers inside. All in all, this is a must have for any retail person.

I am into retail but from the web side of things and really enjoyed trying to make connections into that space. It is a little more limited in that aspect but still a good mental exercise. For instance, it is known that as people stay in the mall for a longer period of time they are more and more likely to buy things which is why you have the food court, rock climbing, and movie theatres. Imagine in the web world on ebay where you could have flash games that would allow you to stay and watch your auctions while killing time. Ebay could then put up other similar auctions to the ones you are watching...

Either way, this is a must have for retailers and a fun read for hobby anthropologists.

Miranda

Miranda is doing well. Occassionaly we have a little bit of fussiness and lately she has been fighting food. But otherwise she is doing great. She now is able to turn from her back to her stomach, but can't get back. Since she hates being on her stomach this leads to Michelle or I having to flip her over once she starts screaming. She is starting to use her hands more and more. Just tonight she was trying (you could tell by the furrowed brow) to reach a little white ring hanging above the mat. Of course, once she kicked her leg (I think she thought that was the arm) and another she touched it with the right arm and them kept opening and closing the left hand. Just a pure treasure right now. I am sure Jay is going to love watching his son learn the same sorts of things!

miranda 003

Adding old plays

So back in college I wrote a couple of plays that got performed. As I read through them, I keep hearing the song "Springtime for Hitler".

Sigh.

Maybe I will revise them (been so many years...) and try to salvage something out of it.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Net neutrality and the little guy

So if ISP's can charge for sites to go through, does that mean that I, as a little tiny blogger, am going to have to pay every ISP to be allowed to have my content viewed?

So Comcast will suddenly block my Vonage cause they aren't paying (or because they have a competing business)?

That I can't buy my hard drives from comp-u-plus cause they didn't pay?

I am a consumer and a provider, hear my roar!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Talent and do they drink the kool-aid



Talent Engagement Matrix

Besides the typo in the chart, I thought this to interesting. Mostly this comment:

"But as a manager, to choose between an empty promoter and a cynical performer, I go with the latter anytime!"

Why would this even be a choice? Why is the company hiring folks that are not effective? If they aren't effective, should they still be at the company? Companies want talented individuals. Whether they are engaged or not typically comes from how long they are at the company/how long they have been out of school.

Of course, if their are any HR experts out there that want to step in and correct me, feel free, but I treat engagement as the opposite of corporate cyncism. And the only way to stop that is for the company to always match their actions and words (and be tailored to the individual).

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

EU and the opening of trade secrets

I think trade secrets in business have been around since the beginning of business. You don't have the protection of a patent, but then again if no one knows about it then they can't figure out a work around that you could from analyzing a patent... It seems however that Europe is very interested in "opening" up the market by having two companies share what traditionally has been seen as trade secrets.



When companies went from protecting their inventions to hoarding litigation tools, I decided that the patent system is currently a "bad thing." But I do think trade secrets still have their place as this is still a method to protect your ideas and inventions and there is no way to hoard this as a litigation tool. What the EU is forcing be done, is that now MS and Apple will have to patent their technology so that they can share and license this technology.

So I say, Apple and Microsoft, pull out of Europe. Open up your other markets. When Europe wants you back, come back graciously. This allows them to start their own industry in this area and gives opportunity to their businesses.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Welcome Evan!!!

Congratulations to my friend Jay and his wife Sara on the birth of their baby boy, Evan! Now Jay, we expect to see lots of pictures of the little guy. But seriously, congratulations and I do remember what it was like to first hold that little person in your arms for the first time. Very emotional.

For those that don't want to do the translation:
Born: 7:46 PM (GMT +01:00) (I am not so sure on the timezone)
Weight: 10 lbs 5 oz.
Height: 22 3/4 in.

Again Congrats!

Friday, July 07, 2006

To my wife

Happy 5th Anniversary.

Hopefully I haven't screwed up too badly.

MVC-674F

Spelling error caught by Princess Blogonoke

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Spore Gameplay Video

Will Wright talking at the 2005 Game Developer's Conference about 'Spore', which looks like it could possibly be the best video game ever.

Kids. Wow.

What a difference 12 weeks makes?! Tomorrow Miranda will hit the 12 week mark, and she seems to be so different. She has been pretty happy lately. And she is drooling more and it looks like you can start to see the outline of some teeth in her top gum, added to the fact that she likes to gnaw on her fingers must mean we are at the start of teething.

But for bigger news, it seems like she is starting to understand she has HANDS. We have a Baby Einstein Discover and Play Activity Center that we have been using since she has been able to hold her head still and prior to this last weekend, she would just sit and stare around. However, for the first time yesterday, she reached out and spun some of the toys and giggled. It was hilarious! The motor skills are still lacking. Last night she wanted to chew on Lamaze Freddie The Firefly Plush Toy, but couldn't seem to get the wing into her mouth. Basically she would shake her head and wave her arms about. I felt so bad laughing at her.

Here is her in a 4th of July outfit that her Great-Grandma Sara got her.
miranda_4th_july 017

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Time for the weekend

So I haven't finished any books recently, so no review this time. Currently I am reading The Call of the Mall by Paco Underhill (I believe). Not bad. Otherwise I look forward to another beautiful Pacific Northwest weekend. No. Seriously. It is about 72 and sunny which is seriously nice.

So went to Lowes this morning while Michelle and Miranda were at Baby and Me Yoga. One of the major things that Michelle wanted me to get was a hose winder. Well I got one by Suncast that broke when I was hand tightening it to the faucet. Pissed me off, so I chucked it across the yard. Stupid piece of plastic. Otherwise not much else.

Miranda is growing quite a bit. I don't happen to have the exact measurements, but she definitely takes up more of the playmat. She is such a wiggle worm and likes to have conversations with me. If I am talking she likes to coo very loudly. It is pretty darn cute. Her fussy stage is pretty much past. She gets a little cranky at night, but that is just cause she is tired, but it is way better than before. Well that is about all and it is near time for lunch.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Upgrading the wrt54g

I recently ordered the Linksys WRT54G v5 because I heard that there are some incredible tools out there to play around with this router, specifically loading linux and a new web console to this device. However, when it arrived and I started doing some research it turned out that without tearing the thing open, and using a JTAG connector, you were stuck with it's out of the box settings.

So after letting it sit for a while (until my other wireless router started acting flaky) I decided to see how far the community had come. It turned out that the day before I decided to check back, someone had cracked it and they now a load.

In about an hour of time (which I spent most of it watching Miranda play), I was able to reflash it to the new software. I am definitely impressed by the options that are available on this router with the new flash. Out of the box, I was barely able to make a connection on the far side of the house, but now am able to set how powerful a signal it has (be careful) and can get 4 bars.

Now if you are thinking about doing the same, I would recommend finding a version 4 wrt54g, or paying more to the wrt54gl (L is for linux). Using the micro version of the flash for the 54g (because it has half the memory), leaves out a number of cool features. But for the price and power and toy factor, this is an endeavor I highly recommend for the geek at heart.

Links:

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Finish a heat wave and one more book review

Well, it seems that over the last couple of days the west coast of the United States has been covered in some sweltering heat. This wouldn't be so bad if we had air conditioning, but "you don't need that in the Northwest". Whatever. It was darn hot (95 F) and we weren't handling it too well. Miranda seemed fine for the most part but we were giving her the nicest parts of the house to keep her cool.

I almost got down to the last ditch efforts in cooling devices. One is the ever popular spritzing bottle filled with water and a fan. This really works well if you can a humidifier as well, but does tend to leave the house a little more water logged. The other option is use a bucket of ice and a fan. We decided to tough it out over the couple of days and managed to be fine, although tigger spent a lot of time laying on the floor in the kitchen.

miranda 002

The Universe in a Single Atom : The Convergence of Science and Spirituality

The Universe in a Single Atom is a book by Dalai Lama XIV which goes into how he feels Buddism and the scientific method meet. His Holiness has had the opportunity to meet with some of the greatest scientific minds and has used those times to gain a greater understanding of state of science and attempt to apply them to philosophies and manuscripts within his faith. At times, I found this book to feel like a sales pitch for how Buddism is a religion that works hand in hand with science through the use of first person, introspective studies whereas science utilizes the third person, observant methodologies. But there are other times in this book, that he is able to bring about a real focus on some of the issues that we will soon have to face as a result of the great advances we have made in science.

I enjoyed this book. I attribute that to the fact that I enjoy the exercise of thinking on various focused topics. His Holiness is talks on the topics of Quantum Mechanics, the Big Bang, Evolution, Genetics, and Consciousness, and puts them in context of his beliefs and faith which provides an interest context in which to work though. One example is where the Dalai Lama shows how the Big Bang can be applied to one of manuscripts of Buddist teachings where the universe is of a cyclical nature and that the scientific studies have made many conjectures where this is a possibility where the universe will collapse the spin out yet another universe for the matter that once created the old.

Based on this, I recommend this to those that enjoy this sort of mental exercise and would like to learn a little of Buddism along the way.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Miranda's getting bigger

Well today she had her first baby and me yoga with Michelle. I am sure she will say more on that matter. Otherwise Miranda is doing well. I think for the first time we really feel like there is a routine which is very very nice.

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I picked this one out for the commentability of the photo. I hope you enjoy Andy "Star Trek rules my world".

Thursday, June 22, 2006

More reviews: Flight of the Nighthawks, 4400 Season 1, and Sunbox for your deck

Flight of the Nighthawks

This book by Raymond Feist is very much part of his normal formula for books. His books tend to focus around the creation of young male characters and how they develop their talents to move the world in there own ways. Feist continues the adventures in the fantasy world of Midkemia with visits from some original characters and various other characters that have appeared in his other works. Pug makes another appearance as well as Nakor to continue Feist's exploration into the balance of good and evil.

This book is just a plain fun fantasy book. If you have liked Feist's other works you will most probably like this one as well. I did find this one to be less worthy of praise than his others works. Magician was by the best of the books produced and the Serpentwar Saga was probably the best series, this just doesn't stand in the same league.

The 4400 - Season One

This series was recommended to me by a friend of mine and never got around to picking it up or renting it. I had the occasion to catch a few of the episodes on TV and was impressed by the writing and the acting done in this series. So I picked it up and am glad I did.

The story is about 4400 people who have disappeared over the last 70 years and how they are suddenly deposited back, but have not aged a day. It shows, but doesn't center around the bigotry that such an outsider group would encounter. The actors who play the main characters do a good job overall with some very interesting performances from the supporting cast as well.

In comparing with another recent sci-fi show, Firefly, I think this had a much stronger beginning, but a weaker overall "universe" to exist in. The acting in this series starts strong, with little need for the actors to get comfortable with their characters whereas Firefly really took a couple episodes to find who they were.

I would recommend this to folks who like science fiction but are looking for something more than just the Star Trek.

Suncast DB5000 Deck Box

I saw this item for 50% off at amazon and decided it was worth the risk to pick up and try out. Out of the box, this is comprised 6 poly-resin panels and seem fairly rigid. There is zero hardware needed for assembly and I was able to put this together in less than 10 minutes. It has now been outside for over a week with no discoloration or weathering.

The main drawbacks really are the cheap assembly, the hinges don't feel strong and the bottom isn't really secured by anything other than gravity. Also there really isn't a way to do a padlock on this. In the end it was slightly overpriced at 50% off and way overpriced if you paid full...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

DS Lite and DS games reviews

Nintendo DS Lite

I initially wasn't sold on the idea of having two screens and using touch screens in gaming. I was wrong. Adding the touch screen doesn't remove the ability of games to use the normal set of buttons, so there is a good set of traditional games out that will work on the DS. Speaking of older games, if you have any gameboy advance games, they will work in the DS as well. Now as to the additional real estate, it really depends on the game to take advantage of it, but having the two screens separated by white plastic is a bit of a hinderance, especially when I saw pinball on the DS using both screens. But otherwise, it allows for status screens plus play screens, or a myriad of other configurations.

I have only used this for about 1 week and the touch screen in holding up with no scratches and the Mac like shell is also scratch free. The setup screens were easy to handle, although everytime you change a setting, you have to power the device back on. Pretty annoying. Also the time is in 24 hour clock, so make sure to take that into factor when initially configuring the DS. All in all, the best way to put it is if this were stolen, I would buy another in a heartbeat. Great gaming system!

Worms: Open Warfare

I was a huge fan of the worms series back 5 years ago, but have yet to find a good version come out since Worms Armageddon. This one is no different. The display is blissfully back to 2d side scrolling instead of the recent 3d versions. But with the small screen and poor cross hairs it is nearly impossible to aim anything. But that isn't the only thing that makes this game feel unfinished and buggy, there is the menu system which you can't use the buttons or d-pad. Also the enemy worms think forever! The weapons are limited and the challenges are not terribly challenging. Don't waste your money.

Brain Age

Here is a game that is a lot of fun. But take that with a grain of salt. I really enjoy math and tests and puzzles which this game seems to include. The controls are easy however, sometimes the games doesn't recognize the numbers you write and the microphone really has trouble with the word blue. But with 100 games of sudoku and tons of tests and quizes this will bring many months of challenges and fun, and maybe a little brain exercises too.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

How to smoke pork ribs

First off, Michelle picked up some pork ribs from Safeway foods a couple days ago so that I could smoke them using my Brinkmann Charcoal Smoker which I have talked about previously. Again they came out fantastic with little work. In fact, the biggest amount of work involved was getting the darn thing started (never been great with charcoal). But once it was hot, and the meat was finished with it's dry rub, on it went for the next 3 1/2 hours with some thoroughly soaked mesquite chips.

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Ingredients
  • Couple of full racks of ribs (pork)
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Salt (kosher or season)
  • Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 can of beer
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic
  • Soaked Mesquite or Hickory wood


First start your wood chips soaking for at least 30 minutes, I tend to go with an 1 1/2 hours. While that is soaking, start up the charcoal at some point. No need to rush this as the chips are soaking and the meat is still refrigerated (or not, your choice). Next start powdering the ribs in the dry spices (salt, peppers, and garlic) and gentle push them into the meat (no need to rub as most of the time, you just rub them off). Next pour the 3 cups of water and the 1/2 can of beer into the water basin for the smoker. Crush the cloves of garlic with your hands and put into the water basin as well. Next put the meat on the racks, and the basin and racks in the smoker. Drink the rest of the beer (probably the rest of the 6 pack too) as this will now cook for 3-7 hours depending on how hot your grill gets going and how thick the ribs are. What you are waiting for really is a deep red color to the meat and that it is firm to the touch/press. Serve and enjoy with your favorite barbeque sauce.

Along with this dish I also served a creamy port asparagus. Take some washed fresh asparagus and cut in half. Heat up a skillet with some butter and olive oil in it. Next sautee the asparagus with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder (fresh would be better). Once you are starting to get a little bit of brown on the asparagus (but it should still be firm) add about a shot of port to deglaze the pan. Once that is complete add half a cup of milk or creme and use some flour to thicken. Enjoy.