Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I hate where I live. I don't know if it because of the economic climate or what, but it feels as if people are getting crazier. A couple months back, at the end of the block, there was a break in. Plus there was a car break in a week later. Lately it has seemed to be quiet, but then I found out that someone had tried to enter one of the vehicles on my property at about 3 am mid-week last week. I also just found out that a neighbor down the block had his gas line on his truck cut to siphon out the gasoline.

The stress of worrying about my family and their safety is starting to get to me. With all this I wonder what I can I do to protect what we have. I can't afford anything better. Is it just Seattle? Is this a city problem? I don't remember this from when I lived in Michigan.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stupid laptop

Looks like my repair job isn't holding. It is making if awfully tempting to solder the power cable right to the board. Seriously. At this point, I don't really plan on replacing any of the batteries or doing any serious spending on this thing, but there is a point at which the time I am spending making it work is very detrimental to the actual operation of it.

I would prefer to not buy myself a new on. I mean for the primary case which is to remote into another machine, it just doesn't make sense to spend even $100 on a small laptop. Now the next question would be where would one ever find a $100 laptop. So with that, I am pretty sure that I am stuck.

So probably on Sunday, I will rip it apart again (wanted to reattach the touch pad anyway) and try and do a better job at applying the glue. I figure I want to give it one more change before I start cutting wires and breaking out the solder iron. Which also means I have yet another reason to postpone Ubuntu. But that you can chalk up to lazy.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Maybe Ubuntu will wait

Well, it look's like ubuntu is going to wait a bit before I tackled installation.  Reason 1 is that I am still waiting for it complete downloading.  That is blazing fast Comcast for you.  Pay for "Powerboost" and it takes 28 hours to download 650 meg.  Honestly should have take a few hours but seriously... why to I pay the extra.

Second off, part of development effort is taking a look at Microsoft Live Writer and seeing what it would take to put together a plugin that would allow one to add in associate links to their blogs via this tool.  It may work out that the current plugin set that is available is sufficient, or that the services available from Amazon are inadequate and those would stop me.  But, I think Amazon's APIs will be rich enough and the other plugin's to be good but missing features.  The only other thing is that it is likely to take a decent amount of programming time as I am definitely rusty and .NET programming.

My other concern is that I am not getting any sort of funding for this.  Many of web development efforts come with the side incentive that I could make some money via Google AdSense or via Associates.  I know it is delusional, as I have made a whopping $1 off all of my projects.  Granted I don't do many.

Basing this project on many past projects, I give it a 7% chance of survival.  Web based projects usually run in the 70% chance of survival, but I guess you do what you know.

Also to be noted I am working on updating my template to support 3 column again. This time without tables.  Oh how I hate floating div's.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Downloading Ubuntu for Alienware Sentia

A long time ago, I bought an Alienware. At the time, Alienware was one of the edgy companies that was producing high performance machines. I ended up buying what was considered their business series laptop, the Sentia. This was really before they started tacking on numbers after Sentia so as best I can tell, it is a model 223. It's not a terribly fast machine, but it did set me back some serious cash and add on to it the problems I have had with it, I really regret purchasing it.

First and foremost the battery for the CMOS has never really worked. It is always dead. This would be less of a problem if the CMOS settings from no power would allow you to even use the laptop. Nope. Everytime I power on, I have to blindly go through the bios settings and restore to defaults as the LCD screen doesn't work otherwise. I would replace it, but the model number on the CMOS battery is non-standard. I could use a CR1220, but this is a ML1220 which is supposedly rechargeable. I am afraid if I use the CR series, it will burst into flames.

Second problem as of now is the main battery is dead. Although the laptop is now roughly 4 or 5 years old... I guess it is to be expected minus I haven't really used it much.

The third problem was one I created. The power plug had gotten kicked at some point and the power connected liked to emit blue sparks or not work on occasion. This with the lack of battery rendered the laptop completely unusable.

However today, I decided that I must restore this laptop to working condition. I removed 25+ screws and multiple panels to expose the inner workings. Wouldn't you know it, I had to disassemble pretty much everything to just get to the power connector. When I got there I was expecting a broken solder point so I had the solder iron all ready to go. Not to be the case, as the plastic housing that holds the connector in place was the culprit and cracked good. After applying some Loctite Super Glue, and holding for 20 minutes, I was able to reassemble the laptop. Unfortunately I had one extra screw and the touchpad isn't hooked up anymore. Overall though, it has been restored to usable, I just can't power it down.

So now, I have decided that I would drop ubuntu on it. I have Redhat 9 on one of my desktops but it rarely gets used. Right now I am looking for something that I can do a little development work while I wait for Miranda to go to sleep while I sit in her room. It looks like I have 11+ hours of downloading before I can attempt an install so it may end up waiting till next weekend for installing.

So hopefully, in the future I can share some of the mini projects I am working on.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Potential solution to puking

Michelle may have figured out one of our puking problems. Basically Miranda has a tendency to puke. Many things can cause it, but one stumped us. Some nights she would just suddenly start whimpering and puke was going to be coming soon. Well it turns out that if she eats dinner well, and then follows it up with her normal cup of milk, it exceeds the capacity of her stomach. Yup, that's it.


That doesn't stop her from throwing up when she gets too upset so I will likely still be spending every evening hanging out in her room. But at least one mystery solved.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Joss Whedon

So there has been a little bit of a buzz on teh intarweebs about Joss Whedon's latest endeavor, Dr. Horrible. Basically it really hits on one of my personal favorite songs by Jonathan Coulton called Skullcrusher Mountain. What happens when a super genius villian is in love? Well I can say it is terribly interesting. You should definitely check out the video for Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. Seriously. First off it stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day. Second, the music is good. Third, it is definitely bite sized at under 14 minutes per act (so far as Act III hasn't gone up yet).

I watched some of Mr. Whedon's early TV shows, but I didn't recognize genius until Firefly. But this really is a wonderful work and quite enjoyable.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Why" #

I am here testing at work instead of riding the train.

Monday, July 07, 2008

July 7, 2001

So 7 years ago today, Michelle and I were married. That is 7 years, 1 kid, 2400 miles, and countless other things that have occurred between here and there. And in all of that, I am still deeply in love and quite happy. We may not do anything out of the ordinary today (planning with children can be difficult at times) but it will still be special.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

So what does one do the day after the fourth?

Well in my case you make one trip to Lowes to pick up a few minor things (propane included). Second you fix the tonneau cover to the truck which broke off last year. Third you clean the living room and family room. Fourth you play some Super Mario Galaxy cause you little girl is hooked on the fat italian plumber.

So late last year, the pin that hold one of the two arms on my tonneau cover broke off. The single one didn't have the strength to hold it up, and put too much strain on the back of the cover. So after a couple of tries I found a size bolt that worked well. So if this one breaks, I am in serious trouble.

And I was surprised to find that Miranda likes to watch either Michelle or I play Super Mario Galaxy. "Mario Jumping!" "Mario Swimming!" "Mario two eyes." Really cute and fun to see her so excited.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Mucked some more with my template

I am pretty sure no matter what I do, I won't be happy with whatever changes I make. I will likely revisit this on the next rainy day we have in Seattle (no jokes please). But on the plus side, editing all my ridiculous advertising chunks was very easy. Look at my widget, I have a page recommendation, but it does point to the main page . . . from the main page. Sigh.

Work looks to be going back to a reasonable level. Launch pushes always bring more hours to make sure we make it as good as possible for customers, but still meet any sort of obligations we have. So I am very tired, but recovering.

Lately, I have been playing with twitter. I am still not sure about it's use as to me it has always felt like blog light. Right now I am primarily using it to update my facebook status as I really never log into facebook unless someone sends me a message and it emails me. I just don't have much compelling reason to use it. Twitter I worry about as I don't want to fire off tons of this little snippets every day, so I try to keep it to 2 tweets a day at most.

Now that work is slowing down, hopefully I can get back to my two blog posts a week. And also maybe beat GTA IV soon.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Don't muck with your template at 4am

Well I was doing to testing by adding a new widget for my advertising column when I accidentally clicked save instead of preview. Needless to say, I quickly grabbed a template to use until I get my old one back operational (or maybe create a new one).

Either way, most of my major work project of late is somehow tied into the amazon widget on the right. Which recently released, so that is where I have been.