Saturday, April 30, 2005

Running on Empty

The last week left me realizing that I have been running on empty for too long. I am to the point that I have nothing left to give. I have violated rule number 1 - take care of yourself so you can take care of others.

The worst part is you never notice it at first. It kind of creeps up on you. For me at least things were mostly ok, although I had noticed some small things for awhile now. The all of a sudden whamo - the wheels come off and I am ready to go postal.

I am looking to reverse this trend. First off I am making up some good meals for myself for next week. One problem is that I have been eating out too much the last few months, and I can feel the difference between that and what I make for myself. Next I am also going to get my exercise in, which I have not been consistent with for awhile as well.

Lastly I am going to try and refill the well. Today I went to see The Hitchhicker's Guide To the Galaxy. Not a bad film, for those familiar with the books (and it has been awhile since I read them) it is enjoyable.For those who did not like the books avoid the movie.

Your Birthdate: December 20

Your birth on the 20th day of the month adds a degree of emotion, sensitivity, and intuition to your reading.

The 2 energy provided here is very social, allowing you to make friends easily and quickly.

Yet you are apt to have a rather nervous air in the company of a large group.

You have a warmhearted nature and emotional understanding that constantly seeks affection.

You are very prone to become depressed and moody, as emotions can turn inward and cause anxiety and mental turmoil.

It can be hard for you to bounce back to reality when depression sets in.

When things are going well, you can go just as far the other way and become extremely affectionate.

Friday, April 29, 2005

MoveOn PACh

MoveOn PAC

Although I thought he would not make a good president (and no I did not vote for Bush Jr. - I voted for some third party candidate in the hope of getting someone else permanent ballot status in Ohio) I do believe Al Gore is a very intelligent man. He hits home with this speech. I like the way he puts it - aside from the fact the founding fathers wanted the whole freedom of the branches to work independently, eventually the Republicans will fall out of favor (if history is any indicator) and when they are they may WANT to have the filibuster and other tools that are currently in place to fight "the evil majority." I think some people have lost track of the fact that politics is a marathon, not a sprint and there are times you will not be the front runner.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Quick Check In

I was at work for 12+ hours yesterday to come home to a bunch of other crap so I have not felt like doing much of anything. Just a quick note since I have not done anything lately.

Note to phishers

Note to phisers - when trying to extract information from someone you should probably try and make sure that the target at least has some kind of relationship with the entity you are trying to immitate.

Today I got this email addressed to "Dear Keybank Member." Now aside from the fact that my name was not used (one tip I have seen in phishing scams), I don't have any kind of account with Keybank. The level of criminal compentence has truly fallen off of late. - United States Department of Agriculture - Home - United States Department of Agriculture - Home

Looks like a cool site if you want to play around with the new food pyramid. Amazing they finally figured out one size does not fit all! And the web might make it easier for people to figure out what they should eat. Wow.

Friday, April 22, 2005

This and that

Well, I am finally catching up with some things. Things at work have slowed down enough that I can breath, always a plus. My car seems to have settled down, although it still needs some work which I might et done this weekend since it seems that the weather is going to suck out loud. I'm not complaining too much becuase we had a nice run of weather.

New feet

Yesterday during my walk I got some intense shin pain. This is not ot of the ordinary since the shin is the first place something hurts when I am walking too fast. After slowing down nothing changed, so it was time to head to the store for a new pair of walking shoes. Picked up a pair of these. I have to agree with the one review that stated they seem to run a half size small, but overall I am happy with them so far. Of course I only did 3 miles today and my arches hurt and I got a little knee pain while walking, but both of those is normal when I first get a new pair of shoes, particularly a new model. The arch problmes I expect since I need to get used to an arch support that is not borken down. The knee pain with this came from the fact these shoes try to keep the ankle in a neutral position, something my last shoes did not do. It wil take a few miles to get the legs used to the new shoes, but I have to admit by the end of the 3 miles I was feeling pretty good so I have good feelings about these shoes. The big thing I like is the upper is almost all mesh to allow for some great breathing of my feet. When I do longer walks I need to get a lot of ventilation on my feet or I start to get blisters right behind the balls of my feet. I never knew what caused them until I taked with someone who had a similar problem and heclued me into the trick of long distance walkers.

Oops I Did It Again: The Original

Oops I Did It Again: The Original

I have mixed views on this - I love poking fun at Brittany Spears, but then again the trumpet playing is so bad it is really an afront to Satchmo fans, and anyone who has respect for brass instruments. I could have played that and I have not picked up an instrument since high school, and a trumpet in particular since my sophmore year.

Yahoo! News - US protestants split over new pope

Yahoo! News - US protestants split over new pope

We live in a world gone wild when protestants should even give a flying fig about the new pope.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Star Wars Revelations .. A�Panic Struck Productions Film

Star Wars Revelations .. A�Panic Struck Productions Film

I believe I have blogged about this before, but now it is out! The largest file is 260 meg and is just over 47 minutes with credits. With BitTorrent it took less than 2 hours (I did not check the exact time - I started it up and came back 2 hours later it was all done). They alos have a DVD image for those with a burner.

Was this a great piece of cinema? No, but it was enjoyable. Frankly I have seen worse commercial releases. Sometimes the effects seemed a little, the word I thought of was "incomplete". Like they needed another day or two of computer processing to really finish things off. I don't discount this could have been a result of my computer monitor however. Wish I had a DVD burner to get the image and see it on a regular TV.

What I find most interesting is the process they used. Although they will not give a final figure, it looks like the spent somewhere in the neightborhood of $30K or less on the film. Granted all the actors & crew were volunteers and the whole process took something like 3 years to complete, but I think this shows what a group of dedicated individuals who are inspired to create something can do.

Right now the timing is such that such films can gain a market. Low budget films & documentaries have, traditionally, had no good outlet. However with broadband getting great penetration into homes people are now looking at the $40-$50/month and wondering how to maximize the return. Indie musicians figured out awhile back how they can market themselves on the internet, and now I think indie film makers are learning. BitTorrent, I feel, is the tipping factor for video. I know, personally, that is how my thinking has been.

BTW - does anyone else know what Karen Hammang has been in? She played The Emperor's Hand in the movie and her face seems familiar. I plugged her name into Google and did not come up with much. Maybe she just looks like someone I know.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Scripting News: 4/20/2005

Scripting News: 4/20/2005

You go Dave!

Seriously it has been my view that most organizied religions just get in the way of your relationship with your deity of choice. I have never figured out why you need to go to a special place at a special time to have a religious experience.

Yahoo! News - TV, Radio to Issue Decency Guide This Summer

Yahoo! News - TV, Radio to Issue Decency Guide This Summer

Why can't people use intelligence when watching a show. There are ratings available already, and any show that may have objectionable material usually warns you at the beginning AND many times just before the segment that will be offensive. Now a delay system on live broadcasts is not a bad idea, but I fear this is going to become pandering to the lowest common denominator, which means anything that could in any way, shape, or form offend ANYONE will never get broadcast again. Why can't people just vote with their viewing habits?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Yahoo! News - Bush Says Raising Retirement Age a Possibility

Yahoo! News - Bush Says Raising Retirement Age a Possibility

Interestingly in my last statement from Social Security my retirement age for full benefits is already 67, and I fully expect it to be 70 by the time I am old enough to draw benefits.

There is one assumption I think that Bush is missing in this - we are all comfortable with investing in stocks & bonds. Most of the people I know (including myself), all of whom are very intelligent, don't have much of a real clue as to what constitutes a good investment. Worse yet we do not necessarily have the time to spend to follow the markets or the money to pay someone to do it for us. If people were serious about individual investment accounts (which, BTW, sounds a lot like the 401(k) or similar programs we have now) then maybe teaching about investing in, say the public schools, would be a good idea.

RANT ALERT - In a country that prides itself on its economic system we do very little to teach our children how to make use of that system. When I was in school unless you took an accounting class you did not necessarily learn even how to balance your check book or how compound interest works. Maybe over the last 20+ years things have changed, but for some reason I doubt it. If people want the whole idea of personal investment accounts to fly (which I am opposed to only because of the governmental control) maybe we should be teaching kids about how the markets work in high school so that everyone IS comfortable with investing in stocks & bonds.

Monday, April 18, 2005 :: Don Box et son groupe ! :: Don Box et son groupe !

Time for some geek humor. The video is kind of long, and my guess is the site is in French, although the video is all English. Songs about programming and other computer geeky stuff by geeks. Fair warning - this is not exactly great music AND the songs will probably not be understood by those outside of the computer industry.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

T-Shirts Akron : Rubber City Clothing

T-Shirts Akron : Rubber City Clothing

There has been a lot of talk lately in town about how to make Akron "cool." More on that, I think, in coming months. Now the idea of making a city "cool" is silly in my opinion, but I like this place's idea of trying to promote a great place to live. Akron will never be LA, Chicago or New York, and frankly I don't want it to be. BTW I highly recommend looking at the "Click Here Vote For Your Favorite Design" link. Some of them are inside jokes that locals would get, but mostly I think everyone would enjoy them.

Recovering from Adventures in Babysitting

I am recovering today from two days of babysitting. My sister in law went in for some emergency surgery to drain an infection on Friday. I took off half a day to watch the kids so Brian could go back and be with Carla in recovery. Not a bad day of babysitting, but for some reason the kids wanted to watch DVDs on my laptop that I took over to get some things done. Needless to say I got nothing done, although I bet we were a sight -4 kids and an adult all grouped around a laptop sitting on a recliner.

Last night Carla was not feeling quite right so she went to the emergency room. I stayed up much longer than I would have liked, but the kids were little terrors. They had been to a birthday party earlier in the day and were still all sugared up. After some whining, and 2 of the 4 falling asleep things went a lot easier.

Aside from that, I have been dealing with a car that is not a happy camper. Right now he still needs to go back for some additional cleaning, but at least things are pretty normal right now. I do have to say though at least the car is nice and clean. I hate to clean, but I have to admit there is something very satisfying about the results. As a programmer at the end of the day there is no physical results from my work. It is nice to see the results of my effort for a change.

Geek Alert

Now let me start this off with I am a big Star Trek fan, but I was not a big fan of Wil Wheaton on there. Nothing against him as an actor, in fact I think he did great, but I never connected with Wesley. Yes, I know there is a difference between Wil & Wesley, but it is sometimes difficult to separate emotions when you are watching the show week after week. It was refreshing to read his blog and find out he is a major geek. A few weeks ago I saw he was into short wave radio, so that really pushes him into the geek category. It is refreshing to read about an actor and find out he is a very normal guy who has a bit of a (ok, a big) geek.

WIL WHEATON dot NET: Where is my mind?: one by one

WIL WHEATON dot NET: Where is my mind?: one by one

Although it looks like voting has closed on this (I could not find the link mentioned as of Sunday night), I thought it was cool to see what an actress was doing. Plus, Ms McKellar is a math major which earns major geek points. Graduating 1 credit shy of a math minor myself I can tell you this lady has some real smarts, plus most of the math majors I have met (my comp sci degree was offered through the math departement) are about 1 standard deviation off of normal.

BTW the reason I was 1 credit shy is because I could not stand to take another math class. That's ok - most people could not understand how I could suffer through all those comp sci classes. So intead of minoring in math I minored in psychology. I had to get some upper level electives and the minor fit the bill.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Yahoo! News - FDA Panel Backs Mentor Silicone Breast Implants

Yahoo! News - FDA Panel Backs Mentor Silicone Breast Implants

A similar story was the top story on my paper. I guess after what seems like weeks of stories on the Pope, Terry Shiavo, and the war in Iraq they wanted something a little lighter. Now whereas I am all for breast implants for women who want them, does this really warrent being the lead story on page one?

Blog censorship gains support | CNET

Blog censorship gains support | CNET

Ok, maybe I have a little more common sense than your average bear, but I would have thought that blogging addresses, phone numbers, etc. would OBVIOUSLY BE A BAD THING! Especially with regard to average Joe type of people. Most celebraties' addresses are well known anyways, although the whole Paris Hilton Blackberry shows the need for good password protection.

Now note that without knowing what is meant by "other personal information" I can't comment further. To me someone's sex life is private, but would it be appropriate to out someone's homosexuality if they are publicly opposed to, say, gay marriage?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

We are Microsoft. You will be assimulated.

And you know the rest. Yes, I am a Trekkie & proud of it.

Last night I signed up for Passport becasue Microsoft music downloads had a song I wanted without having to install another music player on my system. I mean I already have iTunes, Windows Media Player, one that came with each of my MP3 players (so that is 2), and I think another player that was installed on the system when I got it. Note to music download industry - I DON'T WANT TO DOWNLOAD YET ANOTHER PLAYER JUST TO USE YOUR SERVICE! Complaint number 1, in my opinion, on DRM (digital rights management).

As I was going through the gyrations of getting my music yesterday (as shocking as it may be, MSN does not play well with Firefox. D'oh!) I was thinking about how we all, for the most part, take part in one of the "evil empires" that seem to spring up here and there.

The vast majority of people in the world use some flavor of Microsoft Windows, along with Internet Explorer, Outlook, etc. In the computer world Micro$oft (as many of us spelled back in the day) is probably the current big bad, or at least the perceived biggest bad.

Now I am, and have been for my entire professional career, a Microsoft developer. As a result I, at home, use Windows XP and many Microsoft software. In part because I am too cheap frugal to pay for software when I have "good enough" software sitting on my machine already. That is, for the most part, what all the Microsoft anti-trust lawsuits are about.

However I am not a down the line MS guy. (Excuse me while I disable the implant. ;) ) I use Open Office instead of MS office. MS Office is extremely bloated and far beyond what I need at home. Hell it is, mostly far beyond what I need at work. I use Firefox & Thunderbird for browsing & email. I use a Palm device instead of a Pocket PC. I use Quicken instead of MS Money, although Quicken has, last I looked, still has a big chunk of their market so maybe that is not as contrarian. (Disclosure: I work for a division of Intiut, who makes Quicken. I used Quicken before we were bought out though.)

However I still use Google & Blogger. I finally relented and go to Amazon for online purchases, primarily because it seems more and more of the online book sellers are working through Amazon. I use Yahoo! to get my news. I use Bloglines (which has evil empire potential) as my blog aggregator. I check out eBay from time to time, and have used it to try and sell some extra crap stuff (unsuccessfully).

However is becoming an MS guy lock, stock & barrel any worse than people who refuse to use MS? What about all the Linux zelots out there? Despite my problems in college with Unix (we were an IBM shop and few people really understood it) I would love to use Linux, but just do not have the time. Is one form of herd mentality any better than another? Do we have to quit using a piece of software, web site, or other service just because they are an "evil empire"? I don't have the answers. Personally I am going to keep doing what I am doing until someone can present me with a good reason to change.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A Netflix Odyssey - Kill Your TV

A Netflix Odyssey

This article got me to thinking about my own TV watching habits, particularly over the summer. Last summer I had subscriptions to Netflix, Blockbuster home DVD delivery, Blockbuster unlimited rentals, and Spiritual Cinema Circle. Now I will admit I quickly dropped Blockbuster's home DVD service because, honestly, it sucked out loud at the time (at least compared to Netflix) and Spiritual Cinema Circle only does 1 disc a month with about 2 hours of programming, but that was still a shit load (a technical term) of movies. I also dropped the unlimited rental because of the cost ($26/month with tax at the time, now $15 plus tax a month). I think they realized that it is near impossible to get your money's worth if you are a member of the Blockbuster Rewards program at $26/month.

As for the TV watching - I doubt we are going to see any kind of advertising free content without a fair amount of cost on our end, particularly with regard to DVD releases. I think DVD is merely a stepping stone anyways to full on demand programming, as implied in the article. The big issue is cost. Right now I can get a DVD of a TV series for anywhere from $36 (Charmed season 1 at KMart this weekend) to $100 (some of the later season of the X-Files). This allows me unlimited viewing. I could pay $24 and watch the whole series through Netflix once (or whatever the lowest priced Netflix subscription is for 2 months, the one where you get 4 movies a month). I remember hearing about the local cable company doing movies on demand for $5 a shot. No pause, get to watch it once. At the time you could rent a video for $3/night and watch it as many times as you wanted (which we did frequently since my brother worked night shift and would stay up and watch movies on his nights off).

I see the future of TV as more like podcasting. The show will be released at a given date/time and your computer or TiVo like device will download it vs. recording it in real time. There will be options for either paying X and getting no commercials or having to watch commercials but getting the show for free. Hopefully these commercials will be a little better directed though.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Usually lunacy on the weekend

So far I have had my usual lunacy for the weekend, so things have not been great.

I did get to meet with some friends Friday night at a local winery. I'm not much of a drinker, but I do enjoy getting together with friends, and everyone seems to understand when I just drink water all night. Since I had not seen some of these people in a year or more it was nice to meet up and talk. The place was packed, unfortunately, so the noise was a bit overwhelming to me.

Saturday night we celebrated my neices birthday by going out to dinner. I rented the movie Taxi. Not a horrible film. It is the kind of film you just kind of put your mind in neutral and watch.

Kind of a quick check in as I am waiting for dinner to finish cooking (salmon & sweet potatoes with crescent rolls). I have the movie Sideways queued up in the DVD player. Although I am not much of a wine guy, I did enjoy listening to the guys over at Grape Radio talk about the movie and I am a fan of Virginia Madsen (in particular) and Thomas Haden Church from his "Wings" days. I also enjoyed Sandra Oh in Under A Tuscan Sun. She does not have that typical star look, which is refreshing. Maybe as I get older I appreciate the differences in people more.

The ripping of music continues. My last upload to the Zen Nomad put me just under 1500 songs and 117 albums. The large jump in song count was becuase I put the songs from the South by Southwest Music Festival on. I probably already have 2 dozen ablums to upload already. Most have had a song or two already on the Zen, but now I am getting the rest of the album moved up. I also want to pick up a few songs for my CDs in the Burn It Spring edition.

Friday, April 08, 2005

beatmixed: Joan Jett vs. Queen - We Will Rock and Roll You

beatmixed: Joan Jett vs. Queen - We Will Rock and Roll You

beatmixed: Joan Jett vs. Queen - We Will Rock and Roll You

beatmixed: Joan Jett vs. Queen - We Will Rock and Roll You

Killing off some admin work

The one key server at work is down so I was unable to get any "real" work (as in work on current projects) done first thing in the morning. On the upside I was able to get some of the crappy admin stuff we all have to do, including getting rid of the mass of post it notes that I had around my computer (picture later in the day).

I am still struggling with the whole internet problem at work. After 45 minutes of getting bounced around between Earthlink (who provides my service) and Time-Warner (who owns the lines into my house) Monday I have a new modem that will will not hook up to anything except through USB. I did hook my computer up to another network through the network card with no problems so it is, hopefully, just a cable problem. Given I tried 2 different cables earlier so I am not holding my breath on this, but we will see.

I hope to have some time over the weekend to get a slightly better post. I am probably going to sign up for Flickr since I am going to meet with some friends and will have my digital camera with me. I need to get a smaller, pocket sized camera. I guess I could pick up a camera phone, although my current cell phone contract would suck for that, and I really enjoy the $9.95 a month. I am not sure if a camera phone stores the photos for later download. For a geek I know very little about cell phones.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Yahoo! News - Police Raid Club Over Nude 'Art Night'

Yahoo! News - Police Raid Club Over Nude 'Art Night'

Why are we still hung up on nudity here in the states? I remember hearing a story many years ago about an American couple traveling in a train where someone asked them if they would mind if she changed for work. Now as explained she only stripped down to her panties & bra, but because there were Americans in the car she felt the need to ask if it was ok. If they were not there, she would have just gone ahead and done it.

We make nudity a big no-no, that is why it is such a big deal.

Yahoo! News - NASA OKs Mission Extension for Twin Rovers

Yahoo! News - NASA OKs Mission Extension for Twin Rovers

Ok, now to me they are already there so why not take advantage of them? I am willing to bet they could get someone to help underwrite the extensions. Frankly given that the bulk of the costs (US $820 Million!) everything else is pretty trivial.

Yahoo! News - Sky-Watchers Await Solar Eclipse on Friday

Yahoo! News - Sky-Watchers Await Solar Eclipse on Friday

Last chance to see a solar eclipse of any type for awhile it looks like.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Yahoo! News - Google Feature Incorporates Satellite Maps

Yahoo! News - Google Feature Incorporates Satellite Maps

Interesting, although I am not sure I like the direction layout. The UI is easier, to me at least, than MapQuest although I do like the format of the printed directions. I did like where you can get a detailed map of the area around the turns. I would have to actually try using the printed directions to see how they work compared to MapQuest, but my guess is they are a little tough. Being able to download the basic directions to a PDA/phone or to your navigation system in your car. It will be interesting to see what shakes out of the beta.

The only downside is that Google is becoming as bad as Microsoft.

Yahoo! News - U.S. to Tighten Border Controls by 2008

Yahoo! News - U.S. to Tighten Border Controls by 2008

I have friends who go to Canada a few times a year to fish and as I understand they recommend this already. Next step - a passport to move state to state.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Yahoo! News - Computers Obeying Brain Signals

Yahoo! News - Computers Obeying Brain Signals

This research has always fascinated me. Of additional implication is that if these machines can detect intentional brain patterns on the surface of the skull, there maybe a way to research ESP and other psychic phenomena.

Yahoo! News - Oil Platforms May Be Used for Fish Farms

Yahoo! News - Oil Platforms May Be Used for Fish Farms

I have mixed views of this - a part of me is suspiscous of anything comeing out of the Bush administration that is remotely enviornmental, but a part of me says this makes some sense. I guess a lot will depend upon whow it is implimented in the end.

Guess who got BlogThis! At Work

As you can tell from my last few posts I finally got the BlogThis! setup on my Google toolbar at work. I like the feature - to be able to be able to quickly blog something about an article I read.

Speaking of work, things are settling down after the big move. The tea/cocoa problem was an overwhelmed support staff trying to get everything done. Our ice maker is also functioning again! I am not much of an ice person, but I like to drop a couple of cubes (more semi-circles) in the morning since I usually end up with some water left over from my drive in. I think I mentioned the $.25 pop. My only complaint is there is no diet, caffine free stuff. Every now and then I do get one in the afternoon, but I have found that I am somewhat sensitive to caffine so I have cut back on it.

The weekend was long and not overly productive. My Saturdays are always way too busy. Sunday started with a power outage and as of 9:30 last night my internet was still not up and running. We had a late winter storm on Saturday night/Sunday morning. We usually get such a storm here in NE Ohio in April, so I am not surprised by it. I think Cleveland set the record for most snowfall in a season, so woohoo! On the upside instead of putzing with the computer I finally watched all the bonus material to What The Bleep Do We Know? I am still upset there was not more of the interviews with the scientists, although I did like what was there. The only down side was the interview with Marlin Matlin had a male interpretor, so it was weird to watch her sign and listen to a male voice. I think they do that so that the listener is not confused as to who is talking, but it is still weird.

I hope to have my internet connection up and running when I get home.