January 6, 2006

Well it is snowing this morning. The sky is still overcast but it is much brighter and whiter than it has been in more than a week so the change is nice. I am enjoying having enough light in the office to be able to see for a change. I love overcast but a little light is nice on most days. It is a little much when you have to turn on a lamp at noon to be able to read next to a window.

I listened to an interview with Eddy Cue, Apple’s VP of iTunes, as he talks about the iPod. And the bottom line is that he is super, ultra snotty. He is very cocky and obnoxious. His only answer to everything was that he and Apple were the best and that no one else was any good. But he couldn’t say anything of substance. And as a VP he must be embarrassingly aware that the Apple advertising engine sells all of their products and not their engineering and development departments. And especially as the VP of iTunes. iTunes? C’mon. iTunes is the top reason that so many people don’t buy iPods because that particular piece of the puzzle is such a problem. iTunes is just massively sad and pathetic. I might buy an iPod if it was able to interface with the computer in a simple, useful way like my Samsung YEPP does. Nothing compares with the devices that just act like a hard drive. No weird, difficult extra interface. iTunes just adds complexity. Sad. Cue also missed what I think is a super obvious need in the industry today: downloadable television content in high quality. He thinks that people will only use Apple’s television downloads to view on small screens in low quality and that people who are using 40″ plasmas and they like to say in the interview or as many people that I know use high quality LCDs and projection systems like ours at 168″. About half of everyone I know has as high or higher quality television as they are talking about in this interview and just about everyone of them all ready would like to use a computer as the source for television shows and all of them would like that to be of higher quality than what is broadcast not lower. I think that this just shows Apple really being condescending to their customers. Basically Cue is saying that people who buy Apple products just aren’t into quality and to them it doesn’t matter if Apple makes good stuff or not. But then again, he makes iTunes so he obviously thinks that.

I ordered some new toys today. One of the benefits of working in IT is that you constantly have to try out products so that your clients can turn to you to know how everything works and what is available, etc. Dominica and I decided that we needed some actual speakers for the upstairs office so we ordered a pair of Logitech stereo speakers that we figure will meet our needs quite nicely. Min and I also have our MiniSD cards on order so that we can store lots of stuff on our new cell phones. But my big new toy that is coming is the 2006 edition of Microsoft’s Streets and Trips with the included USB GPS unit. I think that that is going to be a lot of fun and with my expected upcoming sales schedule this year it will come in really handy for finding places when I am out of town. I can’t believe that I haven’t gotten any GPS before. There have been so many occasions when I have really needed to have one. Anyone who drives to client sites would really appreciate one.

I didn’t manage to get into Castile Christian Academy this week like I had hoped. I know that they have had some electrical work done but I don’t know how much is done or maybe all of it is. Dad and I were supposed to be at the school this week but with dad’s hand he hasn’t been able to do very much. I hope that I can get down there on Monday to get things moving.

Has anyone ever spent a day wearing full coverage headphones in a cold room? I do this all of the time because I don’t have decent computer speakers in the office, yet, and I listen to seminars all day long and I keep the house really cold. I have noticed that the headphones do almost as much to keep me warm as my fleece does. It is pretty dramatic.

I can’t believe that it is Friday all ready. The week seems to have just flown by. The weekend is just a few hours away. Not that I get to take the weekends off but I always feel better over the weekend because the phone calls that come in are almost always social and not disaster related. It is substantial what a difference that makes in your outlook on the day.

I saw the doctor this afternoon. It has been about nine months since my last checkup. My blood pressure is up and I have to deal with that. It has always been fine in the past but it was quite high this time. My weight is up too. Apparently our home scale doesn’t tell me anything useful since it showed me roughly holding my weight steady and not gaining like the good scale and the doctor’s office said. But at least my heart rate is way down. Only 72bpm. That is awesome. At least something is improving.

Dad came over at 4:30 so that we could get our regular Friday night fish fry at the Omega (hmmm…. I wonder where that extra weight has been coming from.) While we were at dinner he told me about a recent episode of NOVA on PBS (WXXI here in the Rochester area – Channel 21.) Anyway, on this episode of NOVA they were talking about a mummy that had been housed in the Niagara Falls Museum. The NFM was a super cheesy museum in Niagara Falls that I had been to when I was young. The museum was really awful. It was full of junk and everything was from a mid-nineteenth century personal collection of a guy who bought the stuff from grave robbers. This practice was decently popular at the time which in no way makes it any less appauling (kind of like slavery but not on the same scale.) Anyway, I remember this particular mummy from the museum because even being as young as I was I was mortified by the horrible conditions that the mummy was being kept under. It was under glass but the glass was not sealed so the air was changing in and out bringing fresh oxygen to the mummy making it deteriorate quickly. I was totally disgusted when I noticed flies crawling around on the mummy under the glass. I remember it very clearly. I remember thinking that it was really strange to have a “museum” that was doing less to preserve its artifacts than I would do if the mummy was stuck in my house! There weren’t even any decent environmental controls in the place. It didn’t even feel like a real commercial building but more like an old house. It was truly awful. Anyway, it turns out that in the 1930’s a German visiting the US who had a decent knowledge of Egyptian mummies identified the mummy as being important but no one would listen to him so the mummy went “undiscovered” again until a researcher from Toronto got involved just recently (for those who don’t know Niagara Falls and Toronto are right next door to each other.) After doing some extensive research it was determined that this mummy was truly important and a man in Toronto managed to buy the museum and close it down. The mummy was sold to a museum in Atlanta where it was identified as actually being Pharoah Ramses I! The mummy has been returned to its rightful home in Egypt after a brief display period in Georgia. But how cool is that? I mean I actually got to breath on Ramses I! It isn’t like I just got to be in a room with him in a big display where I couldn’t get close and lots of other people were around. I was probably completely alone with him in a little room at the Niagara Falls Museum just one or two inches away separated by some glass that wasn’t even remotely sealed. Just enough to keep you from spilling your diet soda onto him. And even that was possible if you tried hard enough. Its weird to know now that I was that close to the body of someone so important. You can learn more about the founder of Egypt’s Nineteenth Dynasty on Wikipedia.

I won an N scale model locomotive (GP-38 #51) on eBay today. It is a model of one of the engines from the Genesee and Wyoming that is used right down the street in Retsof. We got a really good deal on it. I am really excited. I have always wanted to have some models of the G&W trains but have never gotten any. There have never been very many available but recently they have started to appear a little bit more often. Atlas is starting to model a number of their engines so that is encouraging. But finding rolling stock is still a challenge. One thing at a time, I guess.

I finally sat down tonight and got a change to sit down tonight and record a new podcast. It has been several weeks since I have had a chance to record a show. I know that you all have been missing me. Sorry about that but it is almost impossible to just keep the dailies flowing let alone the podcast during the holiday season.

Dominica got home at her usual time and we watched a couple episodes of TNG. At this rate we will have completed the first season in just a few weeks. Tomorrow the plan is that I will be home with Oreo all day. I need a nice, relaxing day at home.

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