September 11, 2003: Happy Birthday Jocelyn

Tomorrow morning (Monday morning) at 9:00 am I am going on to the next round of interviewing for this job that I have been talking about. This is the first round of me being onsite with the customer. So I am once again asking for prayers. I will be getting up and getting moving as soon as Dominica gets home from the hotel.

You can listen to today’s SGL Podcast on MP3 here. Always good for people who don’t have the time to read the huge updates.

Boy were we tired pulling ourselves out of bed this morning. I was pretty decently sore today. Still the biggest issue is the bottoms of my feet are just killing me. I can’t stand standing on them for any length of time.

We actually managed to go to church this morning in LaGrange. Art and Danielle went too. They are trying out our church to see what they think.

After church, the Ralstons went over to the Silver Lake Family Restaurant with dad and us for some lunch. We couldn’t hang out for long today since Min has to work her double today. Ugh.

I recompressed the first SGL Podcast because the file size of the first one was simply too large. I cut the bitrate down to 32kb/s and I think that it still sounds pretty good but now it isn’t so unbearable to download. It doesn’t help to make the podcast any less boring but there isn’t too much that I can do about that.

I decided to try my hand at recording the Bible today. Okay, I was in one of those semi-bored moods where I really didn’t want to work but I wanted to do something productive. Normally that just means that I write all kinds of SGL udpates. Today it involved reading the Bible onto MP3. So, if you want to listen to me read Joshua Chapter One from the New Living Translation (NLT) just follow the link. I don’t think that it turned out all that bad for being nothing more than me sitting at my desk in the new office using a Logitech headset microphone and doing all of the recording, editing and studio stuff using Audacity which is a pretty impressive piece of software. I was thinking about starting a podcast where I read one chapter of the Bible each day. I figured that it would be a neat way to get people to read through the Bible. It would take a couple of years to make it all of the way through but for most people, that is a lot faster than they would make it through any other way. So anyway, give it a listen and let me know how it is.

Josh has been playing on the MUD like mad the last few days. Art is the first person to see him on and that was Friday night. Already he has advanced a ton since then and everyone has seen him on almost every minute of the day since that time. He was on all day yesterday while Jeremy played and he is on today while I am doing miscellaneous things around the office.

I took it easy today for the most part. I love having the upstairs office. Oreo loves it too. It is his favourite room in the entire house. He loves that there is a low windows that he can look out and see people coming and going. Even better, he can watch for people coming to our house up the sidewalk. And the sun streams in in the afternoon so he lays directly in the sunlight and gets all toasty. He hasn’t been able to do that as no other part of the house gets any significant amount of direct sunlight. And, of course, he loves being in the office with me because he is an extremely social dog. I decided to spend a little time playing on the MUD and listening to some Podcasts because, well, I love Podcasting. And I didn’t want Josh to be getting way ahead of me in leveling on the MUD so figured that I had to do some work and catch up since he is already a level ahead of me.

We are also naming Andrew West as our September Llama of the Month as he moved out this month and is about the only person to do anything significant to earn the title at all.

Here is a great elevator hack that everyone needs to know about (I heard this on TWiT this week) and hopefully we will find out that it actually works. Don’t get your hopes up but definitely give it a try. If you are in an Otis elevator, try pressing the floor and close door buttons at the same time to skip over all of the people who are waiting for the elevator on other floors.

So here is some good news. AOL has lost a lawsuit against the state of New York for not allowing people to cancel the service.

Mary and Jocelyn were supposed to come over around 5:00 this afternoon to hang out for Jocelyn’s birthday. But it is closing in on 8:30 now and I haven’t heard anything from them. I guess that they are not coming. Dominica wants me to bring her my PocketPC so that she can get online tonight from work. It is super slow there tonight and she only has six people scheduled to check in all night. And she is there for sixteen hours.

I spoke too soon. Mary and Jocelyn arrived at 8:30 right on the dot. How funny is that. My timing is impeccable. Mary is feeling pretty sick and needs to get to bed so that she can get some sleep before having to work tomorrow. Jocelyn turns twenty-six today. They stopped by and checked out the stuff that we have been doing with the house. Like everyone that has been over, they totally loved the new bed. Now they want one just like it. Danielle has already decided that Art is going to have to make one just like it for them. For long term readers of SGL it should come as no surprise that me having a bed custom built for me would probably result in the most amazing sleep experience ever. I have always taken sleeping and the design of my bed (or bedding as is probably more appropriate) extremely seriously. I have written about it extensively in my blog in the past. Now we have a rock solid medium density fiberboard 7’x7′ (no, I am not kidding, seven feet square) platform bed, painted black, that we then construct our own “mattress” on top of. Our new mattress is made of a lot of the same layers that we had previously but a number of them have been removed and replaced with a 1.5″ think memory foam mattress (king sized.) That works out well to reduce the numbers of layers that we have to worry about separating on us as well as adding a decently comfortable characteristic to the bed without being “soft.” There is still almost no “give” in the bed but we needed to add a more cushioning layer because the MDF platform is dramatically harder than the nice, soft carpetted floor. Then Dominica also added an additional piece on Danielle’s recommendation that helps to hold the whole thing together but I haven’t yet seen that piece so I can’t really tell you anything about it. So anyway, Mary and Jocelyn really liked the bed and I think that they want one just like it now too.

Ever notice that my longest posts are always about my bed? I did notice last night that if anyone is looking at this page using a Macintosh that it looks completely like crap because I don’t have any fonts in here that work on the Mac. I will get to that this week, I hope. I figure that it isn’t very important. Do I have anyone reading this site from a Mac? Andy and I own them. I don’t know of anyone else having one. So, if you are reading this from a Mac, let me know. Maybe all of the kids over at York High School are using Macs and maybe it is a significant portion of my audience. Let me know. If you don’t tell me, I don’t bother to check the logs 😉

If anyone out there hasn’t tried out StarDock’s WindowBlinds, then maybe you should download it and give it a try. I haven’t fired it up yet but it looks pretty interesting. I am not normally a skinner by nature but I do like the look of some of the stuff that they are showing on the website so I am going to give it a try. Windows XP is starting to look old to me and I need something to make it look a little bit more like my Linux installations. I got it installed this evening. There is a free and a commercial version of the software. Definitely get the free version and check it out. There are thousands of available blinds that you can download but there are a few that come with it as well. I downloaded a Longhorn theme (not Longhorn Slate that comes with the initial install) and so far I think that it is really hot. I am really happy with the way that Windows looks. It makes the computer a lot more fun to work on. So download it and give it a spin. Aren’t you glad that I am here to try this stuff out first and to let you know what is worth trying and what isn’t?

The rumor today is that the next version of Windows following Windows XP called Windows Vista is going to be free. That is free as in beer, not free as in speech. That will be a great breakthrough if it really is. We should see that as a significant factor in the cost reduction of new computers. Especially lower cost computers. It will also have the opportunity to give new life to old hardware and to encourage people and businesses to update systems sooner which will push innovation, increase productivity and compatibility and, perchance the most important aspect, dramatically decrease the amount of Windows security issues which are often due to people running old versions of Microsoft software. It will be interesting to see how a change like that will affect Windows users. In much of the Linux world, for example, people who run free desktop operating environments like Fedora Core, Mandriva or OpenSUSE will often switch to the latest version of their chosen software the week that it releases and will constantly move along to the latest version even if it comes out every six months. This is good and bad. Great for really obvious reasons but it could end up being a major headache to support staff and IT departments if Microsoft isn’t careful. The biggest issue, though, is going to be the fact that Vista is expected to have some massively heavy computing requirements which are really going to require people to get super fast hardware and will force users who have never had to invest in graphics accelerators before to have to invest in really significantly powerful ones. And that will make lower end computers much more expensive very quickly. Users will also be affected by the rapid release schedules, if it really happens that way, because they will have much less time to adapt to any given system as the tolerances for staying with older systems will simply vanish. In the Linux world, people always just expect you to be using the absolute latest version of everything and people just pack up and move on without any regards to older systems. In the Windows world, people still regularly use Windows NT 4 (circa 1996) and Windows 95 R2 (circle 1997) and people don’t think anything of it. But with Linux, people would generally be surprised if you were using a system from any longer ago than late 2004. For example, SUSE 9.2 came out in late 2004 with 9.3 in early 2005 and 10.0 expected in a few weeks. Many people are already running on the betas of 10.0 and anyone who isn’t “pushing the envelope” would be expected to be on 9.3 and only people with systems that they rarely use or for people who are having others do their installs for them would have any excuse to still be on the now ancient version 9.2! Imagine if Windows NT 4, Windows 2000 and Windows XP all released within a single twelve month period (instead of releasing in 1996, 2000 and 2002 repectively.) Linux from 2002 would be unthinkable today. I don’t even know what systems were available at the time. SUSE 8.0 must have been out, if I were to guess. Andy and I used the 7.x series while we were working at IBM in 2000 – 2001. Boy how time does fly.

I am working in Rochester all week this week. It is also my very last week of having three days with Wegmans. It is all one and two day weeks from here on out until the end of the project in October. Boy am I looking forward to that. Okay, time for Scott to get to bed. I am out of here. Have a good week everyone.

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