Friday, October 31, 2003

Greetings from the Halloween capital of the world!

And farewell to October. Today, we baked brownies, then strolled into town to see the madness first-hand. Indeed it was mobbed downtown. After returning home and putting David down for a nap around 2 or so, I went for ingredients and we made a big salad. We went to our friend's house (Greg and Mary) over near downtown with said brownies and salad, and had a dinner there with them and a few friends of theirs. Then we took all the kids trick-or-treating (David was a fireman, but refused to wear his hat), and after the sugar rush wore off the kids, we walked into downtown for the main event. Downtown was even more jammed than it had been in early afternoon. We took the back way home, and David demanded a bath. So we caved - he was sticky anyways. He hit the sack around 10.

We did a good job keeping him away from most of the candy, thankfully. He did eat a Reese's peanut butter cup (along with a chunk of the wrapper), and then he got his hands on a Tootsie Pop. He's only had a couple of lollipops so far, but he loves them. He somehow grabbed a second one at one point and was double-fisting them.

Besides that, though, he ate pretty well today. He did collect some candy during the trick-or-treating, but he's not going to get it, and we're not going to eat it, either. We'll give it away over the next week or two.

Anyhow, this marks the end of October, as I mentioned. One week from today will be three months since I was "separated" from Holyoke - right around the median for out-of-workness in this state. Hopefully I won't go too far past that, but there hasn't been a lot of new stuff appearing over the last week or so.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

The solution to the hostname problem

The problem with my iMac's hostname has been corrected, but it was using the brute force method instead of the "right way" (whatever that may be).

On the suggestion of a Macfixit forums reader, I decided to go edit the /etc/hostconfig file. I'd looked at that earlier, and the first non-comment line in the file is:

HOSTNAME=-AUTOMATIC-

There's a comment above that the contents of the file are generated by the system control panels. So I'd initially decided to leave it alone. But after reading the suggestion, I went in and changed it to:

HOSTNAME=macdaddy (the name of the Mac)

Now, in order to edit the file (I really hate using vi), I copied it into a visible directory, opened it, and then did a "save as" to save the edited file - the original is owned by root. The new file is owned by me. So I took the edited file, mv'd it back to /etc, then chmod'ed the new hostconfig file back to root:wheel ownership. After a reboot all was well.

I would like to figure out what caused the problem in the first place, so I can correct the underlying cause.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Reviewing Apple's latest

As mentioned previously, Janeshouse.com is now the proud owner of an iMac G4 1.25 GHz desktop Mac, replacing a tired (but rebuilt, reloaded, and now available for a very nice price) PowerBook. We also temporarily have an eMac as well - the eMac is a replacement for the old iMac my parents have, and I'm setting it up for them. Both systems came with Panther included - the eMac was set up with it, while the iMac had MacOS 10.2.7 preloaded and a Panther upgrade kit in the box.

So, here goes the mini-review:

We already owned an iMac - the 800 MHz 17" screen model with the SuperDrive. It's Jane's Mac, and the one we do our bookeeping on. Performance was respectable compared to my old PowerBook (a TiBook 667), mainly due to the improved video subsystem. Well, I did a little subjective benchmarking before stomping the new iMac, and it was noticeably faster. The faster processor makes a significant difference at most tasks, as does the improved GeForce 4 video subsystem with twice the VRAM of the older iMac. Panther is faster than 10.2.x at all tasks so far - boot time is down to about 30 seconds from hardware initialization, iPhoto loads about twice as fast as it did previously, and Safari's "hangs" don't happen on the faster system with Panther loaded.

Minor annoyances (to me): I like most of the new keyboard's design. But Apple has put a rest of sorts in between the cursor keys and the navigation keys - and that rest is uncomfortable. I prefer the older Apple Keyboard. Also, the iMac's fan is a little louder in this model than it is in Jane's iMac. Wah. It's still a lot quieter than in any PC I've used or built, except for the fanless Mini-ITX PC I use as a server.

I was also a little disappointed that I couldn't get the iMac in-store with built-in Bluetooth. It's available online as a BTO option only. I recycled my D-Link Bluetooth dongle - but I was hoping to not have to use it.

As for the eMac, setting it up is not significantly different from an iMac, except for these differences:

First, it's a royal pain to get out of the box. And it's almost as much of a pain to get back in.

Second, it uses standard PC133 SDRAM, while the iMac now uses PC2700 DDR SDRAM. However, both slots are user-accessible. In the iMac, only one slot is accessible - a single SO-DIMM (laptop) socket in the base of the iMac. Removing the panel is an annoyance on both systems, but putting it back on sucks far more on the iMac. Look at Apple's service instructions and you'll understand.

Third, though the eMac's CRT is very good, I'm spoiled by LCD-based systems instead. Again, wah. My folks will love it compared to the old iMac DV they have now (which will ultimately be recycled into David's first computer sometime next year).

Given the price, though ($799, plus we got a 10% discount on that), the eMac is absolutely a great buy. Make sure to add RAM, though - it only includes 128MB at that price point. Another 256MB should cost you about $35 at any CompUSA or Best Buy.

As for Panther, the experience has so far been pretty good. I'm happy with the speed, and replacing Aqua with the brushed metal look is growing on me. I like the new Finder, and most underlying functions are more responsive. I had two problems in the upgrade, mainly related to the way I did it.

When I set up the iMac, first I upgraded it to Panther, then I hooked up my PowerBook in FireWire target disk mode. I drag-copied all my user files and applications over, then I copied all the preference and support files I could identify. Everything worked fine, but the first problem was that my user applications all now appeared twice in the Finder's "Open With" contextual menu. This was fixed when I re-did the install using the "Archive and Install" option, preserving all my settings. I should have done that in the first place, since the PowerBook was running 10.2 instead of 10.3.

The second problem is more frustrating, though more minor. Whatever I try to name the Mac doesn't take - the Mac is convinced that the name I pick exists elsewhere and instead names itself "pc-00023" instead. Trying to forcibly set the hostname using "sudo hostname" fails. It's obviously from a setting file I brought over from the old OS by mistake, but still a pain in the butt. I'll puzzle it out at some point.

Fortunately, it's easier to read/edit preference files on MacOS X than it is on Windows. The OS and apps store their settings in "plist" files that are simply plaintext XML files. Apple provides an editor that can specifically read the schema, but you can also use any text editor if you know what you're doing. I'll slog my way through it over the next few days as time permits.

Also a plus - Panther no longer requires a driver for my Smartdisk media reader, USB behavior is much better, and the printing subsystem is better, faster, and much more stable than it was prior.

If anyone wants to buy the PowerBook - let me know!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Because I can!

I'm writing this from my iPaq, sitting at the table during a BNUG board meeting. Why? Why not?

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Today's new Google Search topics

Checking this week's stats:

"philips earbud"
"paul levesque stephanie mcmahon new york marriage"
"Scarlett Johannsen"
"mike mussina desktop background"
"widescreen tv geforce 4mx"


I'm just so darned eclectic, I shock myself!

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Until recently

Until recently, we had a squirrel that was terrorizing the neighborhood. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration. He did hang out in the area (I wouldn't call it a yard, exactly) between our house and the house behind us, occasionally turning up next door. He was relatively agressive for a squirrel, plucking apples off the little apple tree in our yard, hanging out on our rear stoop to eat, and always being around when we were coming and going.

Now, let me digress. We have a storage area behind our house as well. We keep a few trash barrels there, of which one has no lid. We use that one for yard waste and when we just have too much stuff to contain in the rest. I usually leave it on it's side, otherwise it gets full of rainwater when we're not using it.

I hadn't noticed, but it was standing up for the last couple of stormy weeks. It was about 1/3 full today.

Now, back to the story. Jane was outside this afternoon doing a little yardwork - which for us mainly consists of taking the flowerpots that we keep annuals in to the storage area and emptying them out. She noticed the trashbin was full of water again.

She also noticed the squirrel, floating, and drowned. It must have been recent, as he was still quite intact. I took care of the mess just now.

I must admit, it is kinda funny.

I've posted an ad on Usenet (ne.forsale) - my PowerBook G4/667 is for sale. No, it's not to pay the mortgage. It's because I've replaced it with an iMac as of yesterday. After checking the used market, I realized that it would be about a break-even with yesterday's Apple Store sale prices factored in. Anyhow, if you think you might want it, e-mail me for info - or go to Usenet and read the ad. I posted it this afternoon.

I feel naked without a portable Mac, though, so once I'm working again I'll probably pick up a bottom-of-the-line G4 iBook at some point.

Truly, a busy night

Last night, we went to the mall. We'd been putting the visit off all week, since last night was Apple's "Night of the Panther" launch event for MacOS 10.3. Seemed like fun.

So we got to the mall at 7:30. There was a line back about 20-30 people already when we walked by. So I got in it, and Jane went off with David to take care of some of the things on the list. Meanwhile, by the time 8 rolled by and the store opened, the line extended about 200 people deep. I made a good decision.

The only major purchase was an eMac for my folks. Apple had a 10% off all Macs deal that was valid last night. We'll get their old iMac (it used to be Jane's) back, reformat it, and give it to David next spring when he's old enough to start playing around a little bit on a computer. My major observation is that Mac users are essentially a tribe. Sure, I own and use Intel boxes. When I'm working, I earn a living taking care of them. Intel boxes have been very, very good to me. But I like using my Mac. Given a choice, I use the Mac. When I talk to other Apple users, I feel like they're part of the same little exclusive club that I'm in. People with Windows computers, on the other hand, just have computers. I think most other Mac people think much the same way.

Anyhow, we took care of everything and were on our way by about 9. David slept in today, which was nice - he got up at about a quarter to ten. The other sidenote from yesterday is that I actually cooked!

This is quite radical for me, as I'm not noted for my cooking. But I made a broccoli-cheddar quiche that came out pretty good. Jane claimed to have liked it.

I told her not to get too used to it, though.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Diet update

I'm not exactly dieting - but since early July I've been making a conscious effort to eat a little less and be more active. I still eat a good deal, but I eat a little better food and a bit less of it as well. Without actually counting calories, I'm trying to consume about 10%-20% fewer each day on average. I refuse to weigh myself - I just keep track of my waistline and look at myself in the mirror.

Anyhow, the best indicator is that I've had to take my belt in two notches from where it was in June so far (another notch today), and that I can't wear any of my size 44 pants now. The 42 pants are starting to get a little loose now, too.

In fact, we just got home from a brisk walk into town, combined with a couple of routine errands. Boy, I feel fitter already!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Pot-pour-re

Yeah. Here we go...

I talked to my folks this afternoon - they were on their way back from picking up NY Lotto tickets at a store in Vista, NY. When I was a young man, "Vista run" had a far different meaning than two retirees heading over to buy Lotto tickets (thanks to a loophole in the drinking ages between NY and CT). Times change.

We made chili tonight for dinner. David picked out the beans and pretty much just ate them. Lots of beans, at that.

Our cats have been using the silica gel cat litter for the last few years. It's virtually stink-free. The only problem is that the fairly large chunks tend to wind up all over the house, which is a problem when you have a small boy who likes to put things into his mouth. This can cause Bad Things to happen.

So we've replaced one of our litter boxes with a design from Booda that's supposed to pretty much eliminate tracking. Hopefully it works - if it does, we'll replace the other one, too.

When I'm king, I will have anyone who throws a lit (or unlit) cigarette butt out of their car put to death. Or at least caned in public, Singapore-style. That's what ashtrays are for, morons!

I've turned a higher profit than Woodge on my website. I earned $10.02 this quarter. Nyah!

However, that may go into fixed costs soon. The USB ports on my PowerBook are getting flakey.

By the way, David's new favorite word - "bath". And he has to be held back from the tub while it fills, otherwise he's in - clothes and all.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

And now, some reason

Michael Holley has an excellent column in today's Globe that mentions a couple of the other mistakes Grady made Thursday night - the biggest, as he puts it, was using Wakefield instead of Williamson in the 11th. He has a great point - Williamson was pretty much unhittable the whole playoff run, and Rivera was not going to be available any further. Had the Sox escaped the 11th, the matchups greatly favored them going forward based on what both teams had left in their bullpens.

That, and he put forward one decent scenario for Grady keeping his job. Even I will agree that Grady did a great job keeping the players focused and loose, and he set the mood for them really well. Even Manny loved him, and Grady benched Manny back in September. Where Little fails is as an X and O guy. So the solution is to keep him around with a better bench coach (where's Mike Stanley when you need him?), and assign him a pitching coach who pretty much runs the bullpen and rotation in his stead. Maybe that's Tony Cloninger if he can come back next year (He already works well with Grady, and he's proven), or somebody else if not Tony. No need for changes on the hitting side - you can't top a record-breaking year. Kind of like the way the NFL does things, where the head coach handles the personnel and locker room with the coordinators actually running their sides of the ball more or less independently. Think of the current Red Sox as a demented version of the New York Giants, where Jim Fassel insists on running the offense himself (to the point where last week the Giants offense was outscored by the Patriots defense). True, most baseball teams run the other way (with the manager involved in everything), but Grady Little has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he's not suited to that style.

What do you think? Can this career be saved, or should heads roll on Yawkey Way?

Saturday, October 18, 2003

At last - an evening to ourselves

We finally got out tonight to celebrate our anniversary (it was a week ago - feel free to congratulate us!). We got a sitter, and went to a nice early dinner followed by our first movie since Jane's birthday last year. When it comes to moviegoing, we're the polar opposite of the Woodges in that respect. Anyhow, we saw Lost in Translation. We both really liked it, partly because of Bill Murray's terrific performance, partly because Scarlett Johannsen was also first-rate paired up with him, partly because of the subtle, atmosphere-driven plot, and partly because it was nice to finally see a Hollywood movie with no on-screen sex, no car chases, no explosions, and no fights.

And now, back to mundane reality. I'm typing this while waiting for David's laundry to finish. We have to get up early tomorrow to go to a function a friend of ours is having, and I'll be in the sack the second after I get everything in the dryer. It was a really nice belated anniversary, though.

Hopefully by the next one I'll have another job!

Friday, October 17, 2003

Meanwhile, in an alternate universe...

What curse? The Red Sox, carried on the back of seven strong innings by Pedro Martinez and four early runs off Roger Clemens (chasing him early in his final game) defeated the Yankees, 5-3, earning a place in the World Series against the upstart Florida Marlins beginning Saturday. This will be the first wildcard matchup since the revised playoff system began.

The Sox got to Clemens early and often. He was hit hard, Trox Nixon slugging a 2-run blast in the second inning. The Sox got one more that inning on a Enrique Wilson throwing error that allowed Jason Varitek to score. Clemens was able to get through the next inning, but in the fourth Kevin Millar hit a leadoff homer to make the lead 4-0. After giving up a walk and a single to put runners on the corners with nobody out, Clemens was pulled for Mike Mussina. Mussina, looking sharp, got the Yankees out of the jam.

Meanwhile, Martinez was cruising. He gave up a pair of solo home runs to a previously quiet Jason Giambi (bumped down to seventh in the order), finally working his way out of a 2-on jam in the bottom of the seventh to end his night at 100 pitches thrown. David Ortiz led off the eighth with a solo home run off a hanging David Wells curveball to add some insurance, and the Sox got two scoreless innings of relief from Mike Timlin and Scott Williamson to close the game out and complete the improbable comeback from the 2-1 and 3-2 deficits the Sox found themselves in during this series.

All I have to say

Crap. Go Marlins.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

About Google searching

Here are some of the Google queries that have returned my blog prominently:

Appalachian human inbreeding
Rey Mysterio's son's picture
Salem Beerworks
XO customer service sucks
cinema catfight
buy yellow tracksuit as seen in Kill Bill
DSLquest
Restoration hardware silver sage


The most commonly used browser is MSIE 6 on Windows 2000. Right behind that is IE 5.5 on Windows 2000 - those are probably mostly my ex-coworkers, judging by the build info. Then there's a few XP users. That's probably mostly the folks on my team, because we all moved to XP this year. Shout out to them.

Turning up with some frequency in the last week or so is a few Gecko-based browsers - mostly split between Mac and Linux users, but there's a couple of Windows people in there too. And some AOL and Safari users as well.

Sigh...

And the season extends another day. Boy, I'm getting grey at an alarming rate!

Cool thing they're doing now at the Apple Stores: they use a rugged plastic shopping bag that has its strings set up in such a way that it can do service in a pinch as a backpack. Really neat idea.

Definition of a geek: I watched yesterday's game at home, until it was time to go to the BNUG meeting. I listened to it on the radio during the drive to Newton. Once I got there, though, it was still the eighth inning. So, geek that I am, I fired up my trusty iPaq, plugged in the SDIO WiFi card that I snagged last week, and hunted for an available network I could get out on to get the play-by-play live over the Internet.

Found one, too.

Actually, the iPaq I have now (the 1935) is definitely the slickest yet. It's a hair taller than my Palm Tungsten is, but it's slimmer and (it seems) lighter. The PocketPC 2003 OS isn't bad (still no built-in battery meter, though), and the device is a lot more responsive than my old iPaq was. The screen is really nice, and the battery life so far has been quite good, even when using the WiFi card. It also fits really well in my Timbuk2 iPod holder - so well, in fact, that I got another one today so I wouldn't have to pick between the iPod and the iPaq for carrying along. The headphones pocket holds a couple of SD cards nicely.

The only hardware drawback to the design so far is that none of the portable keyboards that HP makes work with it, and it'd be nice to have a extended-life battery pack available for it like it is for other models. I also am not nuts about how they implemented the charger - I see no good reason they couldn't have drawn power off USB.

I'm also having some PocketMac issues that I'm dealing with - I think I may have messed it up and I'm too lazy to fix it right now. I'd like to network sync it now that I have the SDIO card, but it doesn't appear to work.

Nothing major new on the job front. I saw some more interesting stuff this week that I think I'll pursue. I never heard anything from the interview three weeks ago, and I assume they didn't bother notifying me that I wasn't selected. Oh well. The only disappointing thing about that is that I was told I'd hear one way or another of their intentions, but I don't think they'd have waited this long to decide - ergo, I assume it wasn't me. It would have been an interesting job that I probably would have done well at.

Perhaps I'll update again tomorrow after the game. Hopefully I'll be in a good mood - Cowboy Up!
(I can't believe I just said that...)

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

It wasn't the trip from hell...

...but it started off that way. Saturday morning, we headed down to Allentown PA for a family reunion (Jane's mom's family). Well, the original plan was to leave around 7 or so. But we decided to stay in a little later, and hit the road about 9 (after a nice, leisurely breakfast and such). Then David came to the conclusion that this trip wasn't a good idea, and started to make us aware of it.

After only about 20 minutes.

So we pulled over at the Framingham rest area and Jane hopped in the back with him. We tried the bottle strategy, which only resulted in milk being flung all around the back of the van. I'll be scrubbing a lot tomorrow.

Then, like the super-genius I am, I decided that the usual route (90 to 84 to 15 to 95 to 287 to 78 to 22) wasn't ideal, and we could bypass the NYC area by taking 84 all the way into PA. So we hit all sorts of traffic and construction in the western stretch of 84 after Hartford. That part sucked. Finally, in Danbury, a highlight! It was lunchtime and we were getting antsy for food - suddenly, a sign by the roadside appears advertising a Duchess off the next exit in Danbury! Yay! So we get off and follow the signs.

It wasn't there. After a few miles, we've backtracked to the previous exit on I-84. In frustration, we got back on and crossed into New York. There's an exit a short way into the state that promises a Wendy's. OK, that's not great but it's better than settling for a McDonald's. Meanwhile, David's still miserable, we're starving, and I get off at the exit. Only to see a sign that the Wendy's is quite a few miles away. There ought to be a law, I tell ya.

So we got back on, crossed the Hudson, and headed down the stretch through the bottom of the state. Finally, in frustration, we did actually stop at a McDonald's. Of course, David (who had finally dozed off) woke up while we were parked there (I went in for the "food") and so was profoundly unhappy again. By this time we're a little under four hours into the drive.

We cross into Pennsylvania at Port Jervis (the top of the Delaware Water Gap area), and, looking at the map, I decide that Route 209 looks like a good way down - it follows the Delaware River downwards through Stroudsburg and onto 33, which goes the rest of the way to the Lehigh Valley. It looks like a well-developed major roadway that promises to be scenic and really doesn't go through much civilization on the way. Cool, right?

Well, the first 19 miles after we get on (after a little delay in a town called Milford's downtown) are just as advertised. Pretty, fast, and easy driving. Then we hit the outskirts of Stroudsburg.

Stroudsburg, it turns out, is the gateway to the Poconos. So we get into a 5-mile crawling backup caused by all the resorts and a huge flea market, anchored by two very poorly-timed traffic lights that bottled it all up. Those five miles took about 45 minutes. None of us are now happy.

Finally, we get through it all and I turn onto 33. Route 33 is a very fast, four-lane divided highway that's just what the doctor ordered. We get to Bethlehem quickly, and turn onto 22 for the final push of about 10 miles to Allentown.

Allentown was once a magnificent city. There's some great architecture as you drive through, and it overlooks the valley. Beautiful views. Unfortunately, the hotel we're staying at (we've been there many times before, Jane's folks have been booking it for us) is in between owners yet again. One reason may be that it looks like it's surrounded by crack dens and tattoo parlors (and two pawn shops). At the end of the business day the city center becomes deserted, for good reason.

We went in, only to find that the computer system that handles the reservations was down. Nobody could check in at all. However, they were having an open bar to compensate partially. I had a couple of Diet Buds while waiting for the situation to be resolved. Finally, faced with all the guests plus a girl's soccer team, the staff decided to solve it manually. A staffer with a master key went and inventoried rooms, reporting back down what was available. My sister-in-law went up to scout out a few for the whole family. She scored well, though we switched a little later to a non-smoking room. The restaurant was closed, and the bar only had a few bizarre-looking items available to eat. We sure as heck weren't going to walk anywhere!

I wound up ordering pizzas from a delivery joint with my brother-in-law. They were pretty good, too. And legitimately so, not because I was hungry. David was having a great time playing with his cousins, and when we went back to our room for the night he went right down to sleep.

Only to wake up at 4 AM upset and inconsolable. We wound up taking him into the bed with us for a pretty sleepless night.

Things picked up considerably the next day, though. They put out a decent breakfast buffet of mainly fresh fruit in the otherwise-closed restaurant, and the coffee was good. Thank goodness, I needed it badly. My car had not been stolen that night, so we were able to get to the reunion, and we had a great time. I like the folks on Jane's mom's side of the family, and it was really nice to see them all. Jane enjoyed it, though I think she was a little busy helping with some of the hosting-related chores. We brought David's pack & play with us, figuring he'd take a nap, and we were right. he slept for about an hour and a half, right in the middle of all the noise and fuss. It was adorable. Most of the afternoon, though, he played with all his cousins (some of which we'd never even met before), and ran around entertaining people. I mainly chased him. But it was a lot of fun.

After the reunion, we celebrated our anniversary (which was also that day), by going out to the Brass Rail for steak sandwiches with Jane's folks. All five of us had steak subs, of course. The night's sleep wasn't quite as traumatic the second night, and the drive back was fast and easy. We stopped for lunch at my parents' house, going the regular route this time. I learned my lesson on the way down. We got home around 5.

It was a short trip in duration - only about 55 hours total and 700-ish miles. But the first 9 hours (counting the hotel fiasco) took about twice as long as the whole rest of the trip combined. I learned three valuable lessons this weekend:

1: Stay in the newer hotels out by the airport.

2: Get adjoining rooms if possible. Or a suite room that gives you and toddler some privacy.

3: Don't screw with taking a different route when you have said toddler in the car.

If you obey those, all should be well.

Anyhow, the reunion really was a good time, and I took a lot of pictures. They'll be uploaded along with a David update sometime later this week. Meanwhile, I was up watching the ballgame and I needed to write this to finish settling down. Time to go to sleep now!

Friday, October 10, 2003

A few thoughts as the week draws to a close

I wonder if there was an empty chair at last night's Democratic debate - and if there was, did anyone notice it or wonder who was missing? That's about how much impression Bob Graham made on the field.

PocketMac is one of those "love it or hate it" Mac apps. It allows a Mac to use a PocketPC as if it were native. The first version of OS X was "OK", but kind of flakey. Version 2 had a bad rep, but I didn't use it - I had sold my iPaq at that point.

Well, version 3 just came out, and my iPaq 1935 just arrived, so I paired 'em up right out of the box. With a couple of (small exceptions), PocketMac 3 rocks! Not only is it seamless to use, not only does it sync with a whole mess 'o new methods in the background, but (unlike Palm) it even offers OS X support for AvantGo and Vindigo. Sync is far improved, the whole app runs out of the menubar if desired, and connection seems much more reliable. It mounts the PocketPC's My Documents folder directly on your desktop, as well, and can allow you to access a installed storage card.

Here's my only two minor quibbles: First, the included tool for extracting .CAB files from Windows installers has been all but useless. I haven't found the installer it could read yet. So until that gets more polish, I'll use my Windows box to install software. The second is potentially a little rougher, but may have to do with the way I installed it - I installed the app, then instead of rebooting I installed both the released patches that were available first. After rebooting, my root directory was write-protected (not over all, just to my user ID). I've seen that with a handful of installers, and it's easily rectified by running Disk Utility and repairing permissions. But it's a pain to do,, and a lot of "joe average" users might not know to do that. However, it may have been due to my installing in a non-standard fashion, so I won't quibble too much with that. Overall, a much improved app that makes a PocketPC a truly viable alternative to Palm for Mac users. I'm not sure what the price is new, but the upgrade was $5.

In other news, we realized yesterday that David has suddenly become too tall for size 4 diapers. They're hip huggers now. So we're going to bring back the 3 cases for size 4 and exchange them for size 5 - we've got about a half-bag (20 or so) of the smaller ones left which we should have used up by early next week.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

California rules!

Or something...

Apparently, the key to success as a modern gubernatorial candidate is to have starred in "Predator". First Jesse, now Arnold. Go figure.

To be slightly serious, California, with their initiative system, deserves exactly the fiscal mess they're in, regardless of who runs the state. Let's be real. Not even presidential candidates really take them seriously. Sure, they pay good lip service to California - after all, they're the biggest, and therefore the most delegate/electorally rich of all states. People may be crazy to run for president, but with a few notable exceptions, they're not stupid. But they don't really give a whit about California at all, beyond the votes.

And yesterday's election summarizes why even more than I can state. And I don't have anything personally against Arnold. Heck, he might even be a great guy and a fine governor. But any state that makes it this easy to knock the guy they elected out and replace him with one of a menu of over 130 candidates deserves the worst. As Bill Maher said so well, what made Arnold any more qualified than Gary Coleman? Both were actors!

So enjoy your new governor, California. I hope he does a pretty good job, because your economy is important to the nation as a whole. At least give him a few months before you recall him, too - and please, no idiotic "Total Recall" puns when you do.

I'll just hang out here on the East Coast and snicker smugly at you...

The list

We've been doing a lot of house work over the previous couple of months. Now we're starting to do the list of Things To Do To Our House (since we're not moving anymore) That Cost More. Until I'm working again, it's only a list, but right now there's a couple of entries:

1: Re-work our kitchen alcove to accomodate a larger refrigerator. Our current one is only 18 cubic feet. But that's the widest one that'll fit right now.

2: Level out our curb cut and widen the driveway mouth a foot or two.

3: Do something with our backyard. I want to build a larger, more practical deck that could accomodate a table and our barbecue. Jane wants to figure out a way to fence it off. We'll probably do neither, but who knows?

That's it so far - everything else we want to do we can do ourselves, so it's reasonable to do so while I'm home.

David woke up at around 5 AM upset over something. It may have just been his soaked diaper. Anyhow, after I changed him and we tried cuddling him, it was quickly established that if we stayed around, his energy was only going to increase (he was trying to go off toddling). So we put him back to bed. He protested loudly, but soon was back asleep.

As were we.

No new job hunt news today, good or bad.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I'm not happy yet.

I still have no faith in Grady Little. But I'm real happy with the win. One thought: the collision that took out Johnny Damon might have been avoided had Little not pulled Todd Walker. Walker doesn't have the range to be out there in center field. Hopefully Damon will be OK after that.

Todd Walker isn't a great defensive player, but he's got a white-hot bat and he's not a major liability out there. Stop pulling him in the late innings!

That said, I still think Scott Williamson is your closer going forward. He was a little over-excited in there tonight and was overthrowing. If he's near the strike zone, he's unhittable.

On another note, we went to the Topsfield Fair today. It's a lot easier to get around on a weekday. David had a blast.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

The problem with the Sox

Until Wednesday, I was pretty comfortable with Grady Little as the Sox manager. The way he got outmaneuvered so badly in the playoff game Wednesday, though, ruined my confidence in him. Here's why:

1: Pulling Todd Walker for Damian Jackson was horrible. Walker is an adequate fielder at best, but Jackson isn't that much better. And Walker was killing the ball all night (2 homers, 2 singles, and a flyout), while Jackson is, at best, a Punch & Judy hitter. Once the game went into extra innings, they definitely needed the hot bat.

2: The blown double-switch for Trot Nixon. OK, Nixon was looking overmatched at the plate after his layoff, but they blew 3 positions on one switch. And you were stuck with a weak player for the rest of the game.

3: Using Derek Lowe for 42 pitches when you had Bronson Arroyo available. What was he thinking?

4: This is the absolutely unforgivable one. You had Kim in there closing, and you leave him in after he plunks the lefty. Fine. He got the K to the next batter. LEAVE HIM IN! Alan Embree just isn't that much, and you don't pull your closer after he gets a big strikeout to get a lefty-lefty matchup. You noticed Macha dadn't put a righty hitter in there when Embree came in? It's because Embree doesn't inspire any fear in him. What good is a 98 MPH fastball when it comes in flat?

I wouldn't have minded if Timlin came out to start the ninth, since he was untouchable in the eighth, but once the ball went to Kim he should have stayed in. Period.

Even if the Sox rally to win this series, I'm no longer a Grady Little booster.

Friday, October 03, 2003

I'm back! What did I miss?

We just returned this evening from a few days up in New Hampshire. We were in Waterville Valley the last two nights, at the Black Bear Lodge. Nice place. David was in a different room, and we had a little kitchenette. The bed wasn't the greatest, but wah.

The best thing about being up there was the lack of cell phone service or Internet access. For the first trip in years I left my PowerBook at home. That was nice. We mainly stuck around the ski village Wednesday and Thursday, and did some walking. Last night we had some beers in the pub there while watching the WVU-Miami game with another couple and their toddler. Some pictures from the trip will be posted this weekend when I get motivated.

Today, we set out early and crossed the Kangamangus Highway from Lincoln to Conway, over the White Mountains. Beautiful drive - I had last done the trip with my family as a teen. We spent lunch in North Conway and did a little shopping, then headed home the long way (via Route 16). It took awhile to catch up on e-mail and messages, but I'm just about current. David conked out around 9:15, after getting a bath. He loves the bath now - actually ran to get in and Jane had to struggle to keep him out long enough to get his outfit off first. Then he tried to rinse himself. We use an old plastic mug in the tub to rinse him off, and he took it and sloshed the water... right into his face. He spent some time sputtering afterwards.

I got one job rejection in the mail (it was one I already knew was coming, based on inside info I had). No news on the other job (the one I actually hope I get offered), so maybe that's a good sign. Based on what they told me, I expect either an offer or a rejection by early next week. Meanwhile, I keep searching under the assumption that they won't have me.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

As of today

The employee count at my former company dropped by about 20 more people. They all got a special package to go away voluntarily.

Bummer.

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