November 27, 2006: Back to Life as Usual in Newark

Susan arrived last night pretty late. She is staying with us for the week before she moves into her new apartment on the east side of Newark next weekend. Everyone was pretty tired pulling themselves out of bed this morning.

Dominica and Susan got right out to work. I started working from home this morning and quickly it turned into a work from home day as there was more and more work needing my attention. It was a rather busy day and I didn’t even end up taking off time for lunch.

I did spend some time today working on getting several movies converted to Xvid so that they can be viewed on the Creative Zen Vision M that Dominica got for her birthday. Boy is that thing ever cool. Watching movies on it is really fun and easy. It takes about one and a half to two and a half hours to get a movie transferred to it when starting from scratch but it works really well. Even with the tiny two and a half inch screen the picture looks really good. The resolution is 320×240 pixels and at that size is razor sharp and you can barely tell that you aren’t watching a full fledged monitor up close. Once text appears on the screen you know that the resolution is low but the actual movie images are excellent. It is a very comfortable way to watch movies. I am curious to see how subtitled movies will come across. They could easily be unreadable. We will have to wait and see on that one.

The bigger discovery that I made today was that I am able to compress widescreen moves at the higher resolution of the widescreen Creative Zen Vision W and they will play just fine on the M. Since Dominica has the M and I am hoping to get the W for Christmas it is very important for us that the movies only need to be compressed once for both systems. It turns out that if you compress Full Frame (4:3) movies for the M they are exactely what you would have wanted on the W anyway and if you compress widescreen movies at the W’s resolution you end up with movies that work perfectly on the M but are just a little larger than necessary which is pretty unimportant. So that is going to be really handy once we both have Zens. I am excited.

I also put in a little time uploading huge numbers of my old photographs to Flickr. Now that I have the Pro account there it only makes sense to keep absolutely everything on there as a backup and so that everyone can make use of them. There are about a thousand pictures up there now and more soon. I had to stop loading them today because Flickr had a problem and stopped being able to take the new pics. But the highlights are John and Michelle Nicklin’s Wedding in Tampa Bay, Florida from September, 2004 and Dominica and my honeymoon in Nova Scotia which is partially posted at this point. Several years worth of my prints that I scanned last year are now posted on Flickr making all of that effort to scan them really make sense now. More coming soon, I hope.

Another eBay video game arrived today at dad’s house: Golden Sun 2 which I am anxious to check out. It is supposed to be one of the best RPGs for the GBA platform. One video game arrived here in Newark as well: Boktai which is an interesting RPG that has a light sensor built into the game cartridge and the game play varies based on the amount of sunlight that you are playing in. This feature made a lot of sense when the original GBA was out and the games required bright, direct sunlight to be able to see. Now with the backlit systems it is difficult to play in direct sunlight and so the game is not likely to work anything like the way it was originally supposed to which is really too bad.

Dominica and Susan got home at just about the same time. As soon as everyone was home we headed to the gym to get a quick work out. It feels good to be back into the swing of getting exercise. We didn’t have a chance to do anything for several days there over the holiday break. I was starting to feel like a sloth.

After exercise we ordered in pizza from Dominos and whiped out any benefit that we had gained from going to the gym. But it was yummy. Dominica spent the evening working frantically on her Java homework. She is a bit behind at this point and has to do a lot of work to have everything done in time for the end of the semester which is coming up very quickly.

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