Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Mixed bag

First of all, let's hit Apple's product announcements from earlier today:

The Mac Mini and iBook lines both received upgrades today. There are now three base models of Mini - priced at $499, $599, and $699. The $499 model is unchanged, except for an upgrade to 512MB of RAM as standard. The $599 also gets the extra RAM, plus AirPort and Bluetooth are now standard as well. And the $699 model adds a SuperDrive to the mix. Nice incremental upgrade, but nothing major. I was kind of hoping Apple would also bump up the VRAM on the Mini series to 64MB, which would have made it a little better for low-to-mid level gaming. I don't think we'll see an explosion in Mini sales as a result of the upgrade, but it will improve the user experience for buyers. 256MB was woefully inadequate for running Mac OS X. And the low-end model includes a modem - but it is now an option on the two fancier models. So basically a modem was swapped for AirPort and Bluetooth.

The iBook now just consists of two base models. a 1.33 GHz 12" model, and a 1.42 GHz 14" model. AirPort and Bluetooth 2.0 are now standard, as are the scrolling trackpad and shock sensors from the PowerBook line. 512MB RAM is also standard across the line (the eMac is the only Mac left that ships with 256MB in any configuration), and the hard drive on the low-end iBook is now 40GB - an upgrade from 30GB. At $999 with all those features, the 12" iBook is now a pretty sweet value.

I think we'll see one more revision to each of those product lines along with the PowerBooks before the first Intel Macs start shipping next year. Expect a PowerBook tweak in a couple of months.

Now, for a quick visit to our home life, David is going through the "one step forward, two steps back" phase of development. On the plus side of the ledger, he's been learning to swim, and has gotten progressively braver in the water most days. He also is capable of drinking well from a normal cup, and we usually give him one at dinner. His tendency to destroy things is also down. And he now is getting to wear pull-ups ("underwear") during the day if he wants to. On the minus side, his table habits have gotten generally worse to the point where we have to threaten him with the baby seatbelt to get him to sit, he can be downright nasty verbally at times, and last night he pooped in the tub (which resulted in a one-day revocation of the underwear privilege).

It's called "being three", and he will outgrow it in a year or so. But it can be maddening at times.

In other home news, Gracie lost her final fang last week - she tried to follow Jane into the cellar, wandered up onto a ledge, and fell down, knocking it out. So she's going to have to rely on her claws to take out any mice that might come around. Our vet pulled the tooth Friday night - assuming it heals right it will be no biggie, but if it gets infected he'll have to go in for the root. It looks OK so far.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Also living in the "piece of crap" world

(a "Republicans suck" rant)

Welcome, Mitt Romney, to Craphood! Why? To commemorate your rushing down from vacation in New Hampshire to veto the "morning-after pill" law. Sure, the bill passed with a veto-proof majority. And sure, you let your lapdog of a Lt. Governor say that she'd sign it if it came up while she was watching the state for you. So the only reason you vetoed the bill was to make even more of a show come Republican primary season in 2008. Because it's going to pass with or without you - and you need to try and make a strong showing with the hard right because you'll probably get tossed out of office as a one-termer here. And losing a re-election bid doesn't look too good on the old Republican resume, bucko.

I've been asked to say something about the other crapmeister in the news, Karl Rove. I'm declining that one - partly because I don't want to get too worked up about that pasty bag of human garbage, and partly because so many others have ripped into him better than I ever could.

I've been a Libertarian for a number of years, and I still believe in libertarianism as my basic worldview. But the Republicans have led me to walk out of the only party I've ever bothered to belong to, and re-register as a Democrat. I may have to hold my nose a tad to do so, but though I'm not a huge fan of Democrats I despise the Republican Party, and I want to contribute what little I can to throwing as many of the bastards out of office as possible. Starting here, and hopefully eventually across the nation. In the spring of 2000, the right-wing activists that run the Republican Party made a choice in South Carolina that threw this country on a fast track to irrelevance. Between the Democrats and hopefully a few reasonable Republicans with cojones, maybe someday we can fix that.

ESPN sucks donkey 8@!!$

I was just getting ready to go home today (reasonably busy morning, and I booked some work for later in the week, too), and I decided to go to ESPN.com to see if the latest Peter Gammons report was online yet. It is, but only if you pay for their "Insider" subscription. Screw that. I'll even stop reading Simmons if they make it Insider content (the Simmons archive already is). Just for giggles, I reported it as a bug.

If you like to read sports columnists, Yahoo's Sports page has most of the good national non-ESPN columnists available online.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Busyness defined

Just to show you all how busy I have been:

Just a few minutes ago I changed my wall calendar's month page over to July. The date today is July 20th.

I should have waited another week and a half - then I could have skipped straight to August.

Keeping on clicking

I've added several new clients this week so far, which is terrific. I am also working on some issues with existing ones, and generally trying to keep all the balls in the air. So far, so good.

Last weekend I taught the first session at BNUG's Networking Fundamentals class, unfortunately I couldn't hang out for the whole day as David needed watching while Jane worked. On Sunday we had a bit of a neighborhood barbecue (us, and both families in the house next door), which David took as a major showing-off opportunity. He's been seriously testing the limits lately, and we've had some major behavior problems associated with it. We're starting to get into Iron Hand Of Discipline mode with him now, and are making some headway.

A "for instance": He was starting to really get impossible at the dinner table - refusing to eat or sit in his chair, insisting on having toys at the table, and throwing stuff. So one night after several warnings, I picked him up and strapped him into a baby seat that we had attached to another chair, then I put that at the table with him in it. After the screaming stopped, he then proceeded to actually eat his dinner. Now, he will usually sit through the meal, and ask to be excused when he finishes. He doesn't want to be back in the baby chair again - it wounds his pride too much to be in there.

Which is fine by us. It's non-violent, but it worked.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Vacation Summary

I'm posting all my material in stages, as time permits. First of all, as for the vacation: we had a lot of fun as usual. This time, David slept in the downstairs bedroom with his cousins the whole 4 nights we were in Cape May - and that represents the first time he has ever slept with anyone other than himself. He had a blast 3 of the 4 nights - on night 2, he woke up around 3AM kind of upset, and came up to stay with us. Which was OK since we had a king bed. The last two nights his cousin Caitlin (who is closest to his own age - 5 months older) stayed with them, too, which marked a similar milestone for her as well. Nice.

The fireworks were somewhat of a dud due to fog, but we made up for it with other activities. David spent 2 days at the beach, and the second day we got him into the water just a little bit. And then I put him up on my arm to carry out into the waves some distance. He thought it was cool until one nailed him in the head without warning, and then I had to take the crying boy back to shore. But he was wading again by the time we were ready to head back. And we also went to the Cape May County Zoo with him one afternoon (which, by the way, is a very good zoo), and he really liked it. Seeing a tiger close-up was very impressive.

Driving back in midweek was remarkably easy, which almost made up for the hellish drive down that Saturday. I hate the Garden State Parkway. With a passion. The drive down took nearly six hours, compared with just under 4 hours on the way back. And had I not detoured through Staten Island on the way down, it most likely would have been even longer.

If we go back next year, it will not be July 4th weekend anymore. Everybody agreed with that conclusion.

I haven't forgotten you all

I've just been pretty busy. If time permits, I'll post my promised stuff plus a MacWorld narrative later today or maybe tomorrow morning. For now, I'm on my way out to a client.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Redacted

In light of this morning's events, I've changed the title of my previous post (even though there's no chronological overlap). George Bush may be a war criminal, but that doesn't make the Bad Guys right. They all need to have intimate discussions with very large axes.

We still need to get out of Iraq - but as soon as we can find and kill every single would-be terrorist in there. Then let all the other parties fight it out.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The purge continues

The second wave of WWE releases hit today, and it's so ugly I'm not sure how much more I want to watch the product. Today's dumps were:

Joy Giovanni (generic "Diva", she mainly was noted for an overdeveloped pectoral region)
Kenzo Suzuki (and his "manager", Hiroko - a midcarder and comedy act)
Marty Jannetty (he was a big star in the early '90s with Shawn Michaels, and was recently re-signed)

Those weren't a big deal, but these were the ones that really grabbed me the wrong way:
Charlie Haas and Jackie Gayda - Haas was a gifted wrestler, and he and Gayda were recently married in real life.
Dawn Marie (yes, she's been off-air for a while, but she's pregnant, for crying out loud!)
Matt Morgan (one of the most promising big men they've had in a long time, saddled with a horrible stuttering gimmick)

And worst of all, they announced that the Dudleys would not be re-signed. And they're apparently bringing back Brock Lesnar on top of it. Horrible, horrible moves, besides the obvious knock of firing a pregnant woman (which, given the nature of a WWE performers' contract, is probably not cause for legal action, unfortunately). By dumping a total of 18 performers (and one announcer, Marc Lloyd, last week), they've made an emphatic statement about what direction they want to go in, and I don't like it one bit.

I may prattle on a little bit more later on about them, but for now I'll wrap up the vacation saga. We made it home about 5:45 today, after a little trouble due to weather at the end. I'll write up a little vacation highlight reel tomorrow or Friday, and hopefully post photos on my website over the weekend. We shot a lot of them.

The annual purge has begun

WWE dumped 8 wrestlers yesterday - it was a cruiserweight-happy purge, as Shannon Moore, Spike Dudley, Akio, and Billy Kidman were dropped along with Kevin Fertig, David Heath, Maven Huffman, and Mark Jindrak.

Just for historical purposes, Heath used the Gangrel vampire gimmick, and turned up for a couple of weeks as part of a storyline. I hadn't even realized he was still on the roster. Fertig made a brief appearance in the disastrous "Mordecai" gimmick (it was kind of a crusader deal), was sent back down to Ohio Valley, and never heard from again. Jindrak and Maven until recently were regulars on TV - Jindrak was just in the trade storyline, moving from Smackdown to Raw last week, and Maven was the first winner of WWE's Tough Enough competition (a legit reality battle for a contract), and had just had a pretty good heel turn earlier in the year before being dropped in the midcard.

As for the four smaller guys, Kidman's major distinction was being from my mother-in-law's hometown (Allentown, PA), and being Torrie Wilson's husband. He was a really good athlete who had no real personality and kept getting hurt. Losing Spike is a surprise - my guess is that he must have wanted to quit. He had a great gimmick, was incredibly popular with the fans, and probably wasn't making huge money. Moore was a FOM (Friend Of Matt), and since he had no real role other than jobbing, I'm guessing this means that Matt Hardy won't be back after all. And finally, dumping Akio was a big loss - he was a spectacular gymnast in the ring.

In real-world news, we're about to drive back from the Jersey shore, where we've been since last weekend. Traffic should be a tad better on this leg of the trip...

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