What’s Next?

January 21, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Posted in Economics, Off the Wall, Workplace | Leave a comment

As I have written beofre, I am quite interested (and a bit amused) at watching modern industrial countries try to come to grips with their plummeting fertility rates.  Here is an interesting article that I just stumbled across.

One wonders:  If the government is going to go this far, what will come next?  Given the writing on the wall plus envoronmental concerns like this, we could see some interesting social upheavals in the near future.

My Life According To…

September 14, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Arts, Off the Wall, Personal | Leave a comment

I got this “meme” from Rudy Mueller on Facebook.  He did his Life According to Led Zepplin.  So, in keeping with 11th grade English class, I had to try to do him one better….


Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to 10 people and include me. You can’t use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It’s a lot harder than you think! Repost as “my life according to (band name)

Pick your Artist:
Weird Al Yankovic

Are you a male or female:
Such a Groovy Guy

Describe yourself:
White and Nerdy

How do you feel:
I Want a New Duck

Describe where you currently live:
Fun Zone

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota

Your favorite form of transportation:

Your best friend is:
Gandhi II

You and your best friends are:
Six Words Long

What’s the weather like:
One Of Those Days

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:
The Saga Begins

What is life to you:
This Is The Life

Your current relationship:
Girls Just Want To Have Lunch / She Never Told Me She Was A Mime

Your fear:
Nature Trail to Hell

What is the best advice you have to give:
Everything You Know Is Wrong

Thought for the Day:
It’s All About The Pentiums

How I would like to die:
Trapped In The Drive-Thru

My soul’s present condition:
The Check’s In The Mail

My motto:
I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead

Tivo Geek

August 29, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Posted in Off the Wall, Personal, Technology | 1 Comment

I will admit it publically — I am an Official Tivo Geek.  The other night, I hacked a sample Tivo HME “Hello World” app so it would put my son’s name and “Go Ravens!” in big purple letters on the TV screen.  I now have a basic idea for a Tivo version of the Weatherbug app, hosted on the low power server box that I built for the primary purpose of hosting movies to stream to the Tivo.  The family already uses the Tivo to listen to our digital music collection of ripped MP3s, and I hope to do the same with our DVD collection.

I think the Tivo has changed our family’s media habits more than any other device since I first installed an Ethernet hub.  We watch what we want to watch, when we want to watch it.  Looking for something on TV?  Take your choice of one of the two hundred or so of our favorites we have on tap, plus any one of the dozens of movies and episodes we have selected to stream via Netflix.  Commercials?  Skip over them.  Miss the begining of the Ravens game?  The Tivo is already recording it, so you can start at the opening kickoff and skip past commercial breaks until you catch up to the action.   Phone call?  Pause the show, then pick up right where you left off.  The Tivo will handle the rest.  Tivo is the new doughnut.

With the server, the Tivo also organizes and displays photos and home movies.  It provides a comprehensive TV guide, and you can even use it to order a pizza.  The dual tuners support HDTV and CableCard, so it handles the new digital formats without a hitch.  I really don’t see why anyone with a TV set doesn’t log on and buy one.

But true Tivo Geekdom requires taking things to a new level.  Hence Bopo, the Windows XP server that my sons and I hacked together out of a HP T5710 motherboard and some cheap parts from China.  The name comes from my son’s hamster — I’ve taken to naming our various computers after our household pets.  Bopo is small and cute and … well, so is Bopo.  It fits nicely in a wooden jewelry box that ended up in our possession a ways back.  I was planning on having Bopo sit on the shelf next to Tivo, so it had to look nice.  But, I abandoned that plan and just put it down in the basement utility closet with the rest of the network stuff.  Bopo still looks cool, and it runs cool too (if you leave the lid open), since it only sucks down 18 watts, which is about as much as the hallway light that my kids leave on all the time.  The main storage drive is 160 Gb, which I figure should hold about 100 DVDs worth.  I plan to upgrade it to a 1Tb drive after Christmas, if I can find a good sale.  The Tivo’s warranty also expires around then, so I’ll look at upgrading its internal drive as well.

But a good server needs good software, and I’ve been able to scrounge that off the Web.  I’m using Tivo Desktop for music and photos, though I may try Galleon as an alternative.  I crunch DVDs down to mp4s with Handbrake, then serve them up with StreamBaby.  I’m also playing around with KMTTG to archive Tivo’ed shows — I found Tivo Desktop Plus to be seriously disappointing in this area.  And now that I’ve got my hands on a .NET library for HME programming, I can write my own apps.  A Weatherbug client will probably be the first, but the sky is the limit from there.  Hmmm, what about an Atari 2600 emulator…..  Or maybe  — Space Ace!

No Mom, I’m Preparing for the Future … Really!

May 19, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Posted in Off the Wall, Technology, Workplace | 1 Comment

Here is an interesting quote from none other than Rob Carter, CIO of Fed Ex:

Rob Carter, chief information officer at FedEx, thinks the best training for anyone who wants to succeed in 10 years is the online game World of Warcraft. Carter says WoW, as its 10 million devotees worldwide call it, offers a peek into the workplace of the future. Each team faces a fast-paced, complicated series of obstacles called quests, and each player, via his online avatar, must contribute to resolving them or else lose his place on the team. The player who contributes most gets to lead the team — until someone else contributes more. The game, which many Gen Yers learned as teens, is intensely collaborative, constantly demanding and often surprising. “It takes exactly the same skill set people will need more of in the future to collaborate on work projects,” says Carter. “The kids are already doing it.”

Hmm.  I wonder if they are hiring?  Then again, our CIO might be planning the same thing….

Kosher Kola

April 10, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Posted in Off the Wall, Personal | 1 Comment

It’s that time of year again, when an ancient divine prescription for additive-free food makes healthy shopping more rewardable, if you know where to look. Yes, it’s Passover, and the Kosher food section at your local Jewish community’s grocery store is brimming with goodness.

I’ve written about Kosher soda before, so I just want to let everyone know that the Classic Coke and Pepsi with real sugar is now available for a short time only. I’ve made two trips so far. On the first, I got two dozen two-liter bottles for $1.66 each. But, on the return trip the next day, they had lowered the price to 88 cents! Score!!!

So, my year’s supply of Kosher Cola is now safely ensconsed within my garage. Look for the yellow cap!

The Tom Sawyer Economy

March 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Posted in Arts, Economics, Off the Wall | Leave a comment

Click here for an hour-long explanation from hardline economist Peter Schiff as to why the US economic situation is so dire.  In his eyes, we’ve been charging the rest of the neighborhood kids to paint our fence.  What happens when they chuck their paintbrushes and go home?

We <3 Norman Gentle!!1!

February 27, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Arts, Off the Wall | Leave a comment


Only in America could someone appear on television and so completely skewer the top-rated show on which he was competing.  The following is satire at its most brilliant.  Check out this clip:  it’s not just entertainment — it borders on performance art.  Breathtaking!

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up…

February 23, 2009 at 3:18 pm | Posted in Economics, Off the Wall | Leave a comment

… or maybe you can.  I really don’t know — I’m just overwhelmed by the breadth of this conspiracy story that spans Iran-Contra, the first Bush administration, organized crime, the Clinton administration, urban renewal, Enron, the War on Drugs, the hostile takeover of RJR Nabisco, and the current mortgage meltdown.  Oh, and Popsicles.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  The author ends her story before September 11, but I’m sure that there’s more.

This is a mirror on America that may or may not be a bit warped, but it definitely isn’t faded.  Take a look!

Finding Nemo

February 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm | Posted in Faded Mirror, Off the Wall, Personal | 1 Comment

Our good friend Celine has asked us

Lotsa links but no new posts? What gives? Let’s find Nemo!

So, what has Nemo been up to?  Well, this, that, and the other.  A little too much of this.  And, let’s not forget that….

Any one of the above are blogs posts waiting to happen.  I know I started out commenting on world events, but frankly, they’ve all been too depressing lately, in more ways than one.  The only cogent comment I can contribute is “I told you so”….

Enough of that.

So, I’ll probably be focusing on things closer to home: a couple techie projects, random theological observations, and varied miscellany.  I’m still swimming, but I just need to angle the mirror a bit so I can see where I’m going.  Keep watching this space!

Can Someone Help Me Out?

September 8, 2008 at 12:39 pm | Posted in Arts, Off the Wall, Technology, Workplace | 6 Comments

I’ve been using Microsoft products for a long time.  In college, I used PCs instead of Macs.  My first computer (after my beloved Amiga 2000) ran Windows.  The project I have spent the past decade working on relies entirely on a number of versions of Visual Studio and SQL Server.  People even call me on the phone to help fix their computers.

But I still can’t make head nor tails of this.

Can someone help me out?  Please?

Continue Reading Can Someone Help Me Out?…

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