February 22, 2008: It’s a Snow Day

Oreo got me up just past midnight again to take him out to the living room to check that his new bone was not stolen by a band of marauders while we slept. This is, apparently, his new late night activity. Worrying about bone thieves.

Snowy Day in Newark

Dominica got up at six thirty and checked the weather and it was looking like it was going to be pretty bad today. We talked about it and decided that it wasn’t a good idea to go in today. It is especially important for me to stay home when the weather is bad because I can cover for all of the people who get stuck in bad weather out on the roads. Dominica’s mouth is hurting a little today too as she had her dentist appointment yesterday evening.

So Dominica and Oreo went back to bed and slept until ten. Oreo doesn’t know what to make of this as he heads into what is going to be a four day weekend for him. I got up at seven thirty and got to work. It is Friday and there will be a lot going on all day and if people aren’t making it into the office I will be needed more than usual.

It snowed heavily here all morning. I like it when the weather is like this and I get to work from home. The light is perfect – that bluish white light and there is nothing out of the windows just a bright soft whiteness. The light is even and easy to read and work by.

At ten thirty Dominica ventured out to the Airlie Cafe across the street to look for breakfast. Oreo opted to stay on his warm, snuggly Star Wars pillow in the living room. He doesn’t particularly like snow.

I finished reading “Agile Project Management with Scrum from Microsoft Press this morning. I had to start reading “Titanic Lessons for IT Project Management” by Mark Kozak-Holland for my term paper that is due next week. You can read more of Kozak-Holland’s writings on the subject in his article series for Ganthead “IT Project Lessons from Titanic“. The article series is actually the book published online as a serial.

Today while researching some titles on Audible I discovered “Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West” by Benazir Bhutto which sounds like an interesting read from an important early twenty-first century polical figure so I picked that up although I doubt that I will have a chance to read it anytime soon.

I have been working on teaching myself to effectively use the new h.264 video codec and, so far, have been getting some very impressive results with it. I am really seeing MPEG2 videos brought down to half their original size while improving overall quality through deblocking and deinterlacing! It is really incredible. The one really major downside to the process is that hours and hours that it takes for even a short video, less than thirty minutes, to be recompressed. My Athlon64 3200+ may not be the fastest machine on the block but it is a decently fast machine with plenty of memory and it has a terrible time working through this material. Once I have the process down the h.264 compression will easily justify the investment in a much faster machine. It is unfortunate that there is not yet an easy way to offload h.264 compression to an outboard floating point processing engine like the NVideo Tesla. That would be really cool and effective. I wonder how long until someone creates a library to handle that soft of work for the free x264 implementation. That would be a really neat project.

Dad’s HP Pavilion laptop finally bit the dust today and is completely dead. His is now attempting to use his limping Toshiba Satellite that has been in horrible shape for years with all kinds of mechanical problems. His desktop has a virus, we believe, and he is trying not to use that until he manages to get it rebuilt.

Today was a long day “at the office” even being home. Lots of stuff going on and I ended up working far more than a twelve hour day starting at seven thirty in the morning and going well past eight in the evening. I am the primary “on call” all weekend and will be kept busy with that in addition to work that I have scheduled tomorrow morning at eight thirty. No time for relaxing for me this weekend, I am afraid.

We tried to get dinner from Food for Life tonight but they closed several hours early so we were not able to. We ended up just grabbing some simple food from downstairs in the deli.

We watched one episode of Family Ties and then it was back to work for me. I wrapped up the office work a little before nine. What a long day. But not as long as the people that I was supporting who worked towards midnight babysitting new software. Ugh.

I did a ton of reading today preparing for my term paper. Something that I didn’t know before is that a “black iceberg” is an iceberg that has scraped against dirt and picked up dirt and rocks and then flipped over so that it is no longer white. It was a black iceberg that the R.M.S. Titanic hit in 1912. I looked up a picture of one on the Weather Underground. So here is a Black Iceberg in Portage Valley, Alaska.

I wrapped up reading “Titanic Lessons for IT Project Management” just a little before eleven and then it was time to head off to bed. Tomorrow is going to be quite busy. Dominica spent the entire day watching Christie and I guarantee that she will have a migraine tomorrow. I think that she watched almost the entire series in one day. She started watching while eating her breakfast and I am going to have to convince her to turn it off so that we can go to bed. Her only breaks have been to walk the dog and to watch an episode of Family Ties so she is going to be hurting.

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