Ups and Downs of the Week

New Photo Website – I have so many pictures that it’s hard to use just this site to show them. So I created Sensor Perceptions to use as my photography showcase. Right now I only have a couple of galleries from our recent Las Vegas trip, but I’ll add more as I go along.

Pujols to the Angels – Now the Sox will be seeing a lot of him.

Verizon 4G – Talk about fast. I’ve seen download/upload speeds of 15/10 Mbps. Pretty impressive for wireless.

UPSMI – Stands for UPS Mail Innovations. If there is a worse way to ship something, I hope to God I never see it. I ordered an eye cup for the viewfinder on my camera two weekends ago. It shipped from NY last Monday (the 5th). I might finally get to tomorrow (the 13th). How does it take 8 days to get something so small from NY to IL? Easy. Ship it via UPS Ground from NY, go past IL to Kansas City, MO, then give it to the US Post Office to ship it back to Champaign, IL for eventual delivery. For this I paid $3.95. Unbelievable.

Rays of Autumn

Here a contractor is laying drainage hoses through a field. It’s called “tiling.” According to the contractor, the tiling can pay for itself in 7-8 years through higher crop yields. The trenching machine has GPS and a computer on board to record exactly where the tiling hoses are put in. Fancy stuff.


Ups and Downs of the Week

Red Sox – Still on top in the ALE, but they must address the holes in their pitching rotation. Only Josh Beckett is healthy and performing well. Hopefully Buchholz and Lester will return to health and be back very soon. Lackey is still undependable and they have no dependable #5 pitcher. Wakefield can occasionally pitch a gem, but he’ll lose just as often. And tonight’s drubbing at the hands of the Rays showed that Miller is not the answer going forward. Luckily, the Yankmees also lost tonight, so no ground was lost in the ALE standings.

Prosecutorial Incompetence – A couple of high profile cases this week have shown that prosecutorial incompetence is sadly all too common. The Roger Clemens perjury prosecution ended in a mistrial almost as soon as it started because the bozos representing the government showed a videotape that had been expressly forbidden as evidence by the judge. All that taxpayer money wasted because highly paid lawyers had a brain cramp. The whole affair has been ludicrous anyway. Congress had no business “investigating” steroid use in baseball. Clemens had no business voluntarily testifying and like a dumbass he lied to Congress through his teeth. Now lying to a bunch of liars may seem like no big deal, but if Joe Schmo down the street would face charges for doing so, then Roger should as well. But chances are good there will be no retrial and Clemens will face no punishment beyond the fortune he must have spent for his lawyers.

Then there’s the prosecutors in the Casey Anthony trial, who botched the case from step one by going for a capital murder charge when they had no case to support such a charge. Had they gone for second degree murder or negligent homicide, Anthony would be starting a long prison term instead of getting ready to walk out a free person.

Nutcases – While I’m on the subject, there have been threats and incidents in FL over the verdict in the aforementioned Anthony trial. Some nutcases have been threatening to kill Anthony and some poor girl who happens to look like her has already been assaulted. You have to be pretty sick to want to kill someone because you think they killed someone else. Where does that cycle end?

Technology – Sarah conducted a webinar yesterday for a bunch of librarians in Massachusetts without ever leaving the comfort of home. We set up Skype on both ends and she was able to converse with them and show them her presentation. It all worked perfectly.

Rupert Murdoch – In Tomorrow Never Dies the actor Jonathan Pryce played a maniacal news mogul who controlled so much of the news media that he was able to shape worldwide events. His character may have been intended as an exaggerated personification of Rupert Murdoch, but recent events in Great Britain have shown it may have painfully close to the truth. Murdoch’s News Corp has been accused of illegally hacking in to cell phones of too many people to list, ranging from the families of 9-11 victims to a murdered British schoolgirl to victims of London’s 2005 bombings. This is a pure example of why the monopolization of the media is such a bad thing. When one person or firm gains control of too much of the available media outlets, the news and information that flows out to the viewer becomes whatever the person in charge decides it should be. I would like nothing better than to see this scandal break up the News Corp empire.

Heat Wave – We’re in for a real blistering heat wave starting tomorrow afternoon. Temps in the middle to upper 90’s and humidity well into the tropical range will be with us for the following week. Oh boy.

Ups and Downs of the Week

Red Sox – Last week I was speculating that the Sox might return to their winning ways. Well they have in a big way. They now have a one game lead in the AL East.

Space Shuttle – For 30 years this system has brought astronauts into orbit and back. There have been problems to be sure, but hundreds of flights have enabled countless experiments and supply missions to space stations. And now it’s all coming to an end. Atlantis took off this morning. When it returns, the space shuttle program will be no more. I hope NASA finds a new way into space very soon.

Ups and Downs of the Week

5th Anniversary – I started this blog 5 years ago today.

Japanese Disaster – The nuke problem seems better one day, disastrous the next. And for a country with such wealth and technology, they seem to be having a hard time getting food, water, and basic necessities to the people in need.

Formula One – Started today with practice for the Grand Prix of Australia. And this year it’s being broadcast in full HD. This picture does not do it justice. Take my word for it, the picture quality is awesome. Add to that HD broadcasts of Red Sox baseball via DirecTV and MLB Extra Innings, and I’m a happy sports fan.

Formula One in HD

Formula One in HD

Goodbye to Spring – For a while at least. Temps earlier this week were in the mid-70s. Now they’re in the 30s and 40s and snow, SNOW!!, is in the forecast. Bummer.

Ups and Downs of the Week

Vtech Bluetooth Phone – So we finally got our new Vtech phone system. It can hook up to a traditional landline if you have one, but it can also connect to a cell phone via Bluetooth, which is what we’re doing. My trusty old RAZR, which has an excellent Bluetooth system, sits attached to its charger full time and is connected to the Vtech base by Bluetooth. There are two other Vtech phones besides the base; one down in my office and one in our bedroom. When someone calls our “home phone” which is now an additional Verizon wireless line, it rings all three Vtech phones. We can also dial out using the Vtech phones and see missed calls and caller ID. Not bad for $80. Since we’re saving $20/mo on the line now, the system will pay for itself in 4 months. Best of all, it was a snap to set up. Took me all of 5 minutes to set up the base phone and the extensions just needed to have their bases plugged into an electrical socket.


Egypt – Glad to see the revolution was largely peaceful. Mubarak is stepping down but there is no clear replacement. Nature abhors a vacuum, so this is a very dangerous time. I just hope the Egyptians are as happy 6 months hence as they are now. This could go either way.

Spring Training – Pitchers and catchers have pretty much arrived, although the official reporting day is Monday. There’s new grass on the field. Anticipation builds.

Robert Kubica – One of the more promising Formula One drivers was badly injured in a rally car crash this week and will likely miss the whole 2011 F1 season. What a shame. He’s worked so hard to get his team’s (Renault) car into shape and it was really looking like they might be top contenders this year. I hope he recovers quickly and completely and can at least be back trackside soon.

Kindle for PC – While I’m not a fan of the Kindle device itself, the Kindle for PC software is pretty cool. I downloaded a book about my new camera that is now easy to read while I follow along with my camera in hand. Plus the book is searchable via Kindle. I don’t think I’d want to read a novel this way, but for How-To stuff, this is a great way to read a book. And in the case of the book I bought, it was several bucks cheaper via Kindle.

Ups and Downs of the Week

GoDaddy – I switched my personal email account from a POP3 account to a hosted Exchange account today. As always, the GoDaddy tech knew exactly what she was doing and made the switch a piece of cake. No one does tech support better than GoDaddy.

Cancer – Our brave old cat Mary lost the battle with cancer today. She put up the good fight, having battled the disease since last Spring. Poor girl.

xkcd – I love this comic strip sometimes.

Ups and Downs of the Week

Barn Fire – While it’s sad that these folks lost their pole barn, an RV, a ’73 Mustang, and some other equipment, it’s very good that it wasn’t their house and no one was hurt. The temps here today were hovering around zero, so props to the firefighters for dealing with this in such nasty conditions. Hell, in *any* conditions. Firefighters are my heroes, mostly because fires are my greatest fear. Anyone who braves a fire for a living is a better person than I.

Barn Fire Barn Fire

Red Sox – Paps and Ells are signed. All the pieces are in place. I cannot wait for this season to start. I may switch to DIRECTV and get the MLB Extra Innings package this season so I don’t have to deal with MLB.TV’s lousy service.

New England Patriots – One and done again. What is it about this team that makes them forget how to dominate when it *really* counts? They used to be able to win the big game. But since the Super Bowl debacle with the Giants, they seem more concerned about not losing than they do about winning (to paraphrase Patton).

Gabby Giffords – Moved to a rehab hospital already. Simply amazing. While the element of luck can’t be overlooked here, there is no doubt a good deal of courage and determination are also evident. The entire country is hoping for a full recovery for her, I’m sure. Politics be damned.

Motorola Citrus – I picked up a new phone this week. It’s a Motorola Citrus. I wanted something that would cost me nothing (got it as an upgrade), would do email push from Exchange (had to buy a $20 app called Touchdown), and work with the BMW Bluetooth hands-free setup in my cars. This phone pretty much fits the bill. There have been few snafus, though, so the jury is still out. I may still need to move up to a Droid2 or DroidX, which I was trying to avoid. The one thing this phone has over those other two is size. It’s no bigger than my old RAZR. Easy to slip into a pocket.


Veterinarians – We’ve been battling cancer with a cat of ours for months now. She’s really gone downhill the past week and we thought she was near death, so Sarah brought her to the vet with the idea that we may put her down and end her suffering. But the vet said we could try some steroids and some hydration by injection. Lo-and-behold, the cat is doing better and actually ate something tonight, which she hasn’t done in days. She’s still not long for this world, but she’s going to be with us a bit longer thanks to the knowledge and dedication of people who choose to practice medicine for animals.

Ups and Downs of the week.

Sarah – Her review of Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants is in today’s The Globe and Mail, which is the largest newspaper in Canada.

Formula One in HD – Very nice indeed. Except for the graphics which are still placed on the screen so non-HD viewers can see them. For someone with a 16:9 HD screen, the graphics are near the center and in the way.

Texas Rangers – Held the Tampa Bay Rays to just one run in two games in their own stadium. I love it. I hope they sweep and win the series at home. Go Rangers!!

Ups and Downs of the week.

Red Sox – They’ve been coming on lately and the return of Mike Lowell, one of the classiest players to ever grace the field, could not have come at a better time. In his first at bat after returning from rehab, he hit the first pitch into the Monster seats at Fenway. He’s made some great plays at 1st base, too. With Youkilis out for the season now, the Red Sox front office has no choice but to play Lowell at 1st for most games. The Sox will be better for it. Tonight they beat the Yankees in their own park. A very good Friday night.

Photoshop CS5 – “Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, oh yeah.” Ok, this isn’t perfect, but it took less than 3 minutes. Think what you could do if you really devoted some time to it.



Weather – Man, it’s been a brutal summer. We had a decent day today and tomorrow is supposed to be ok, but starting Sunday and all the way through next week we’re expecting temps in the mid- to upper-90s with killer humidity. Bring on autumn, already.

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