Ups and Downs of the week.

Michael Schumacher- Back in Formula One. It’s going to be a good year to watch.

Homework – I swear, no more classes for me after I’m done with this program. Ever.

Video-calls – Got it set up on my laptop. I’ve had a few very clear face-to-face conversations with my friend Dana back in MA.

Weather forecasting – Still a best guess scenario. Hard to even call it a science.

All Wheel Drive (AWD) – Sure was nice having it today.


Ups and Downs of the week.

In-car iPod – Got the aux input installed in the X5. Love having 200+ songs at my disposal in the car. Next up, the Z4.

Illinois politics – For years both sides have been making a mess out of this state’s economy. Now everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else. Pitiful.

Photomatix Pro 3  – Very cool HDR software. Stay tuned for pics.

The NFL – Do they really think they own the phrase “Who dat?

Internet forums -More than once I’ve been saved by info found on these various forums. The wiring diagram for the aux input in my X5 was wrong, so it didn’t work. But someone on the X5 forum had endured the same problem and had figured it out and posted the solution. Saved me a trip to the dealer.

Ups and Downs of the week.

iPods – Ok, I drank the Kool-Aid. But my new iPod Nano is very cool.

Windows 7  – So far, so good. There are a few nits to pick, but mostly it seems fast and stable.

Weather – What January thaw? The promised warmer temps never happened. We haven’t seen the sun in a week or more. And this weekend it’s supposed to rain heavily and then turn to snow. Ugh.

Ups and Downs of the week.

  Dad – Another setback. Serious this time. Things are day-to-day now.

  The Economy - No raises this year, possibly 12 furlough days (equating to a 5% pay cut), and continued unemployment everywhere. 

 New Laptop – Dell Latitude E6500. With lots of horsepower, it runs Flash programs a thousand times better than my old laptop. This image is MLB.TV’s Flash-based video of the Sox game. This picture really doesn’t do it justice. The full screen image is clear and crisp and the motion is very smooth. Like having a new TV in the house.

Full screen video

  Red Sox - Playing like the 2006 Sox. No offense, limited pitching depth, no spark. They went 15 innings against the Yankmees tonight and couldn’t score a single run. They wasted outstanding pitching by their entire staff. Pathetic. Time for hitting coach Magadan to go. They need a fresh start.

I love my toys. This one is among the coolest. It’s a Verizon Mifi 2200 portable EV-DO router. Just fire it up and 5 devices can connect wirelessly to Verizon’s EV-DO broadband network. I used it at home tonight with my EEE-PC to watch the Red Sox game on The game streamed fine. Once you set up the intial connection via USB, all subsequent connections are via wifi. As this device is usually right near the laptop, the laptop connects to it automatically. I just open up the EEE-PC and it’s already connected to the Mifi and out to the internet. This thing is about the size of a credit card and about 4 or 5 credit cards thick. It has a 4-hour battery life and can be plugged in and charged either to a wall socket or via USB to a laptop. Wireless access to it is controlled via WPA, with the WPA code stamped on the bottom of the router. Monthly fee for unlimited (really 5GB) data is $60. You can also buy lesser data accounts or a 24-hour for $15 option. It’s made for traveling and it eliminates the danger of snapping off a wifi PCMCIA card or USB dongle from your laptop. This is perfect for the family on vacation. Everyone gets to surf.

Mifi 2200

Ups and Downs of the week.

 New York City – This place has its down side to be sure, but it’s a great place to visit. I especially like Central Park. We walked about 4 miles today through the park and around the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ll get some pics posted later. The food here is awesome as well. Today I stood dumbfounded in a deli just marveling at all the food choices. Then Sarah called and said she was coming back from the conference, so I was saved from the decision and went to meet her for lunch. 

Meh   Dad – Back to the rehab facility to regain his strength after the hospitalization last week. Looks like a couple more weeks before he’s home again. 

Meh  Red Sox - Well, they had first place for a bit. Tonight’s loss to the Jays could land them in second behind the Yankmees if the Evil Empire wins, which is likely.

 Verizon 3G data network – Got a Verizon USB760 adapter, so now I have broadband access virtually anywhere. I’ll be trading it in next week, though for Verizon’s new Mifi 2200. More on that gadget later.

Ups and Downs of the week.

 Red Sox – Looking much better again. They swept the Yankmees and won game one against TB tonight at Fenway.

Meh  Celtics/Bruins – Both teams struggling. Both lost tonight.

 New Toy – ASUS EEE-PC 10.1 inch mini-laptop. Intel Atom processor, 2GB RAM, 160GB hard drive. 9.5 hours (claimed) battery life. Just under 3-lbs. Right about $350. Nice color on the screen (picture doesn’t do it justice). Got it running’s player with the Sox game on.


 Weather – Some nice days this week. Sunny and warm. Perfect weather to go topless. (The car, not me.)

  Virus/malware writers – Scum of the earth.

 Dad – Went home today with the advisors from the nursing home to check for possible issues with the apartment vis-à-vis his home recuperation. Everything looked good. He’s slated to go home for good this coming Tuesday.

I figured if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I bought a leaf blower. It’s a powerful beast, too. Like wielding a tornado. I learned a few lessons my first time out with it. I went prepared with glasses and earplugs, but I forgot a hat. I was clearing out the leaves and old birdseed near the walkout behind the house and then had to spend some time cleaning birdseed out of my hair afterward. Live and learn.

Toro Ultra Leaf Blower

Ups and Downs of the week.

 Clarksville, TN – Nice place. I’m visiting my nephew who is stationed at Ft. Campbell. I was stationed there 30 years ago and today I stood in the same office where I worked back then. My nephew is the First Sergeant of the unit occupying those same buildings.

  Ice storm – The ice storm that hit southern Illinois and Kentucky last month wreaked havoc on the trees here. Check out the damage just along I-24. (Excuse the somewhat poor shots. I shot these while driving without really aiming.)

Tree damage. Tree damage. Tree damage. Tree damage. Tree damage. Tree damage.

 Bugout Gear – Nice equipment. I bought a black backpack today that can be expanded for a weeks’ worth of clothes and all my electronics or collapsed for just carrying overnight stuff. Very versatile stuff.

  Stomach woes – Still suffering from frequent sour stomach. Blech.

 Dad – Walking a bit. Now he just needs to be able to stand up by himself and he can come home.

Every now and then it hits me that a paradigm shift has occurred and we’ve taken it for granted. One such shift is the amazing technology we so casually carry around in our pockets. A couple of decades ago the thought of owning a tiny device which allowed us to talk to each other, send each other messages, take a picture, or even record a short video was the stuff of Star Trek or other sci-fi. Today we have the cell phones we accept as a normal part of life. Even very capable cameras capable of 10 megapixel images can be easily carried inside a tuxedo or stashed in a small handbag. This image below of our new President and First Lady dancing at an inaugural ball shows what I mean. It took me a second to realize what all the little blue lights were. You would not have seen them at Bill Clinton’s inaugural ball. Funny how quickly we adapt.

Obamas dance.

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