Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ahead on my home work,...

For the first time this quarter, I think I am actually ahead on my homework for my MBA program. However, this does not mean that it is all easy going, because over the next two weeks I have several group assignments, several homework assignments and we are going to get our take home final exam. I am not going to have any time, so I need to get ahead as far as I can while I have the chance. listen

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Take out Indian food....

Take out Indian food. I just picked up Indian food at Kanishka for dinner tonight and the smell of it is making me want to sell out my family and eat it now. I bought way too much food so they would never notice, but I'm a good guy, I'll take it home to them. listen

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Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm dehydrated, sore and tired... my vacation day was great

I took a well deserved vacation day yesterday and with the kids on winter break, we went skiing at the Summit at Snoqualmie. Like the rest of the week has been, it was a beautiful day - the sky was blue and the sun was shining.

It might have been a little warm for the snow, as it was pretty crusty and crunchy, but you didn't have to be bundled up all the way. If it gets any warmer, there will be girls in bikinis on skis!

We got a late start, since Alec had swim practice that morning and after he called us a few times, we picked him only 1 hour late. He forgot his cell phone, we couldn't find his sunglasses and I found my sunglasses this morning, on the floor, fallen from my pile of gear.

The kids took lessons again, which was great. Heather and I got some skiing in on our own and then we skied mostly as a family into night. Towards the end, I started realizing that I was about to drift off on the lift, so I sat out the final runs. I was a little dehydrated, though I carried (and drank) water through out the day.

When we got home at about 9:45, just about everyone went straight to bed. I remember pulling the covers up on myself, but that was all. I just went to sleep.

When I woke up this morning, after snoozing my alarm, I still had a dehyrdation headache and my legs were pretty sore, but in a good way. Kids 2 and 3 slept pretty late, though Kid 1 woke up early (he's always been an early riser). After drinking tea most of the day, I was able to get enough water to beat the headache, but there won't be any binge drinking this weekend (like there would have been anyways).

Again, it was a great day skiing and fun time with our family in the outdoors. Its nice that we are taking advantage of the closeness of the ski area and the rest of the outdoors now.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


As Heather indicated, the kids are on winter break this week. Today, they went to the Pacific Science Center and I am at home, all alone. The dogs are sleeping and there isn't anyone here to talk to.

Usually our youngest is home from school and we all eat lunch together. Today, they were all gone. Our house was quiet and all the lights out (turned off, not burnt out).

It was lonely.

Because I have school tonight and they have swim practice this afternoon, we won't be in the same house together until late tonight. By then, the kids will be asleep.

But tomorrow will be better! I'm taking vacation tomorrow.

Tweaking Ubuntu for my Dell D630

So, over the last month, I've been using dual booting Windows and Ubuntu and making the linux install do just what I want.

After my computer crashed, I got a brand new Dell D630. It came with an 80 GB disk just partitioned for Windows. I bought an external disk and installed Ubuntu on a partition there and booted from the USB device for a couple of days. I decided that I liked Ubuntu and repartitioned the hard disk into a Windows and Linux partition (more to come on this, I would do it differently, if I were to do it again). Now, my PC dual boots Ubuntu 7.10 and Windows XP (and Ubuntu is the default).

My old computer (aside from the hard disk) was working perfectly - graphics, sound, microphone, even power management. I've found with the new computer that not all the drivers are completed. With some work and good Google searches, I've been able to get a lot more of doing just what I want.

Lessons learned
  1. Linux does just about everything that your windows computer could do and most of it, slightly better.
  2. Most of the answers to the problems (or if it can't be solved yet) can be found on forums or educational websites. Learn Google searches before you learn linux.
The Ubuntu Community Forums have been the most helpful. There I found how to get my sound and mic input jack to work (had to recompile ALSA and the sound config change), tweak the sensitivity of my touchpad, adjust the power settings (I haven't done it yet, but I bet it will work)! I've watched DVDs on airplanes and my wifi works seamlessly. I need to further enable my video card for spiffy graphics features, but it works just fine as it is.

Lifehacker has a great article on how to arrange your disk partitions so that you can share data between the two OS. Linux can read a Windows formatted disk partition, but not the other way around. So, if I save a document in my Linux partition, Windows can't see it. Most of the time I save to my external disk or to my Windows disk, but I need to build some symbolic links to those drives to make it less of a hassle. Had I only made a third data store partition, it would have been much easier.

So, now I'm on to exploring Virtualization, to see if I can run iTunes (not made for Linux yet) and a couple of other Windows only programs (MS Project and Outlook). A good friend of mine suggested I try Evolution and so far it is a pretty good PIM - it definitely competes with Outlook.

As a free OS goes, with free software, this is pretty slick. It definitely competes with the commercial software out there. As time goes on, I can see me using this more and Windows less.

Thanks to all the help I've gotten both from authors on the web and from Manny and Erik!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Some day I'll have an easy chair

I just spent 4 hours (less fast forwarding through commercials) catching up on the new television series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Being a guy, it is pretty good TV and considering that it was launched during the writers strike, it is the best thing on TV.

Some of it I watched on my iPod, some transfered to our downstairs Tivo and tonight, it will record in HD on the new downstairs Tivo unit. It took a little while to get a hang of the Tivo remote after almost two years of not watching TV (or Tivo for that matter), but I was able to get through the commercials pretty effectively.

So, after watching the 4 epidsodes, I saw some cool things. Sure, who wouldn't mind a cute, girl robot who can kick ass. Maybe in later episodes, John will find out if she has girl parts, too! But what I really thought was cool - the easy chair in the pilot! It was reinforced with kevlar in the back, so as to stop bullets.

I want an easy chair like that. Who never knows when someone might try to shoot me in the back? Who knows when evil metal headed robots from the future might try to kill me. I'd want to be enjoying my scotch and a nice book by the fire knowing I'm safe.

Some day La-Z-Boy will make one. If they don't already.

Outdoor activities, anyway

This weekend, a college friend and I were planning on going winter camping. We were planning on snowshoeing a short distance into the Cascades, near Snoqualmie Pass, and building a snow cave for the night.

This trip was predicated by a few things:
  1. My desire to snowshoe more
  2. My desire to camp
  3. My desire to rough it a little more than Heather is willing
  4. Heather's mandate to use my Christmas gifts before I get anything new at REI
As a quick review, most of what I got for Christmas was field cooking and eating gear. I got a Titanium fork and a spoon which doubles as a tool for my MSR stove. I also got a bowl and a plate, too.

To be able to use this gear, I've got to go on a long enough expedition to have to eat. An overnight trip fits that bill.

So, Wade and I discussed an overnight trip for this long weekend. We watched weather and avalanche forecasts. We discussed what we would eat and what safety equipment we would carry and how we would mitigate risk. I geeked out a little bit and wrote a detailed trip plan.

But Wade started to get sick on Friday afternoon. And it worsened on Saturday. And on Sunday, we called it off. I say that its better to be sick at home than in a snow cave in the middle of no where. We decided we would see how Wade was doing and then maybe do a day trip on Monday.

But contrary to Heather's post, I wasn't bored around the house. We had a great day!

We went biking to Beaver Lake and then Alec and I took some mountain bike trails back to our house. It was a lot of fun and I can feel it in my legs today!

Afterwards, we played in the street (it is a cul de sac) and washed bikes, kids and my MINI.

Heather and I cooked dinner together and we had a nice, albeit short, because we were all tired, evening.

Even though Wade and I didn't go camping this weekend (note the emphasis), we still got some outdoor activities in and as Wade says, "There will be snow for a while; there's lots of it up there."

We'll have more opportunities before the season is over.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Orange Juice you can chew

I like Orange Juice with breakfast. It doesn't matter what is for breakfast, I'll usually accompany it with OJ. However, in our family, there are some fundamental differences in how much pulp we like or if they like OJ at all.

  • Heather likes OJ intermittently
  • Boy #1 (Eldest, for those that read Heather's blog) like OJ with no pulp
  • Girl #2 (PB, translated) sorta likes OJ, but with no pulp
  • Boy #2 (lil man) likes OJ, but with no pulp
  • I obviously like OJ and with lots of pulp
So, for the last many years, I have been buying OJ with no pulp, in order to satisfy the majority. This time, when I was buying some, it was on sale. I compared the price between the 96 ounce and the half-gallons, and the half-gallon was a better price.

So I did it. I bought one no pulp and one full of pulp. Why didn't I do this earlier? I don't know, but I'm happy with my OJ I can chew.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Coolest Coffee Mug

My Dad made me the coolest mug for my birthday. Since he has retired, he has really gotten into woodworking. He made the kids kaleidoscopes for Christmas and I got this super cool mug.

Handmade wooden coffee mug

It is the neatest thing. It's made of mahogany (a log aged 16 years from Peru, evidently) and oak reportedly from Andrew Jackson's home. I didn't take a picture, but it is even signed on the bottom.

How cool is that? Its got a stainless liner and a travel lid and a shiny finish that shows off the wood grain, but providing some protection from moisture. And on top of all that, it kept my tea warm enough to drink yesterday afternoon. Yes, tea in the afternoon to rehydrate myself after all the espresso in the morning.

And since for the last three weeks, I've been the only one respecting the kids' basketball league request of not bringing beverages to the games, I'll be bringing my coffee is the coolest mug ever now!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Valentine's Day drives spam

I've seen a recent surge in the spam I receive, the most part of which is trying to get me to buy some product to help me:

I think that these spammers are capitalizing on Valentine's Day and increasing their "advertising activities."

It sucks. At least Gmail does a pretty good job of culling them from my inbox.