February 16, 2005: Happy Birthday Art

Happy Birthday to Art Ralston! He is 29 today.

I was supposed to be going out to breakfast with dad and Pastor Dan this morning but when I got up the weather was really awful and Min hadn’t made it home yet. I checked my messages (our phones are still having major issues and lots of calls are being redirected straight to me cell phone) and dad had been trying to get a hold of me for hours. They had cancelled breakfast but not because of the weather but because his car’s transmission was having serious problems and he needed help getting his car into the shop. Min got home almost an hour late. She said that the drive home was just awful. It was above freezing outside and thick, heavy snow was falling very quickly making the road very slippery. Andy had gotten up after me and decided not to go into work unless the weather got better later on in the day. At 9:20 I headed on over to dad’s. Dad and I had a morning meeting down in Perry that we had to go to so we went down there in my car that has a working transmission (yeah Mazda!) and has absolutely amazing snow tires. Even though there was a ton of snow on the roads – as much as four inches, my car didn’t have any problems cutting right through it all. We got back from our meeting a bit later than I had anticipated and I had to call the guy that I was supposed to be having a lunch meeting with in Rochester and postpone until Friday. We have been having a terrible past two weeks trying to get together for lunch or coffee. Then I took dad home to get his car and we drove it over to Balconi just up the street from my house. Since we were already in Geneseo, we picked up Min and went over to Denny’s to get some lunch. When we got Min, she said that Andy had decided that the roads were good enough to drive up for at least half a day of work.

After lunch Min and I drove dad back home. Min hasn’t seen the AS/400 yet and was pretty surprised by how big it was. Dad’s tractor has died so he is now unable to move the AS/400 even if we have a spot to put it into. His house is like the black hole of mechanical equipment… everything goes there to die. We stayed there for about an hour hanging out but dad was really sleepy and starting falling asleep on the couch so Min and I came back home.

I was doing some searching and found SGL listed on this random page. But better yet are these people talking about our LotM on Yahoo Groups – they actually liked the site! Here is a Google quick image link to a bunch of our headshots. I think that the guys talking about us is awesome. Someone out there actually knows who we are and stumbled across our little site here!

I added a new site for the Friday Night Game. I will have a menu link to it soon. This will give everyone a single place to go and check in on the status of upcoming game nights. Hopefully all of the information that people need will be able to be made available here. This should be a lot easier than calling everyone. Maybe we will make a sign in page so people can reserve a seat at upcoming LAN parties.

I had to get onto the phone with Netgear for about an hour this afternoon. They have been having problems with their website and haven’t been able to get our new router out yet. I talked to them and got everything squared away. We should have the new unit on Friday afternoon which means we will hopefully be back up and stable sometime Friday evening.

European papers are apparently beginning to uncover case after case of blackmail against European governments that are considering opposing the insane software patents law there. The proposed new law is causing unbelievable turmoil throughout the world as it will allow any and all software to be patented making anyone who uses any software anywhere prosecutable for patent infringements as the laws do not in any way protect common practices.

I have been asked to serve on the Professional Advisory Committee for the Computer Science Department at Onondaga Community College. That is pretty cool. Tim must be behind this. This should be fun and a really good opportunity to get some stuff onto my resume that will help me land a professorship somewhere.

I got Andy’s MP3 player prepped for my day in Ithaca tomorrow. It is nice to be able to load up a whole day’s worth of stuff to listen to all at once. I am hoping to get an MP3 player for myself relatively soon. I think that one with 512MB would do me well. I have been using Andy’s player when I go to bed to be able to listen to things as I am falling asleep. I have been finding a ton of really interesting interviews and talks to listen to.

Dad’s laptop is beginning to die. Actually, it is just about dead. A few months ago he decided to lift and hold it by its monitor and he must have squeezed it too hard because it apparently busted a seal on the LCD screen and the screen has been deteriorating. It is just about to the point of not being usable. So he had to do something to replace his laptop. Our meeting this morning resulting in us releaving ourselves of our Verizon wireless Internet access so that we can scale down to the more affordable Road Runner service that is now available over at his place. That is the first step. We are thinking of letting dad use my laptop (yes, the only machine I currently have on my desktop) and getting me a Dell Axim X50v handheld PDA. Yeah, it would be a bold move not only doing away with Windows XP on the desktop but also doing away with an Intel architecture (I have to say architecture since I moved physically away from Intel to all AMD years ago) desktop altogether and living only with the PowerPC based Mac Mini. It is especially bold since I haven’t used the Mac Mini yet. But, it seems like it may be the option that best fits our overall needs. I am really looking forward to getting a handheld that is powerful enough to be truly useful. The new units are fast enough and have enough features that I am hoping to be able to really replace the laptop and actually do a significant amount of work on it. Now that there is built in 802.11b wireless, it means that I can use it in almost all of the places that I was using my laptop previously. And as our customers are adding wireless faster and faster, it is less and less common that I have to work in a place where I do not have regular access to wireless. I can work in Ithaca without a problem at all of our customers there, in Perry, in Geneseo, soon in Castile and very soon at dad’s place since he will have wireless as soon as the cable line comes in. The DC office, the hotel in DC and John’s house all have wireless. If things go as planned, Eric’s office at the UofR should even have wireless in the next six months. So, I think that I can probably get away with using the handheld a lot of the time. It is going to be a stretch, but I am really interested in the possibility.

I got an email from Emily and Craig tonight. Yes, they are still alive, can you believe it? They may be visiting the area sometime in April. The big news is that Emily is pregnant and is due on July 4th! So congratulations to them.

Min has been trying to cook tilapia for two days so we are finally having it tonight. She decided to try mashed potato encrusted tilapi and whipped carrots and crescent rolls.

Okay, another cool link for the day. Everyone needs to check out utility fog which is a cool new material (not a real material but they are working on it) that is built out of nano-robots that change dynamically to suit temporal needs. It is a long way off and I think that they get a little extreme in this article but it definitely holds a lot of potential down the road. I will be really interested to see what they end up being able to do with this stuff.

Dinner was delicious. I really like mashed potato encrusted tilapia. I have always been a fan of tilapia and luckily we can get it at Aldi’s very inexpensively and Min seems to like it too now so I can actually have it occassionally. Tilapia is now America’s sixth most popular seafood product!

While we ate we watched my dad’s copy of I, Robot which Andy said he didn’t think that I would like so we have been avoiding but actually I quite enjoyed. It wasn’t an amazing movie but it was pretty good. After that we watching Rock Hudson and Doris Day in Pillow Talk. We have the entire Hudson/Day collection now.

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