Thursday, December 15, 2005

Been a while....

Hard to find time to do anything, much less write in a blog, when you're working 16 hours a day. Here's that latest:

Bryce is getting big.
Work is good and bad.
My wife is lovely.
The Texas Longhorn football team is 60 minutes away from the Big Prize.

Company Dog and Pony was tonight. It's always interesting to see how people explain things they didn't create to other people. Food was good.

More to come soon, including an exciting look at the hottest holiday gift you won't have under the tree.

Google whistles a new tune | Tech News on ZDNet

Looks like the long rumored Google - iTunes pertnership had a shred of validity (they usually do).  This can only help the legal online music business.  Instead of finding links to myriad spyware-riddled P2P apps when searching for music, maybe a user will be directed to a resource where they can legally purchase the content.  This is great for the music industry and the online music stores.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Help Wanted

Been a while since I've posted because we've been so busy at work. We've been trying to find people to add to the team, but, unfortunately, good help is hard to come by. It looks like there may be no relief in sight. 20 hour work days are the norm now and I don't see that changing any time soon. I guess things could be worse, though. Our current situation exists only because we have a flood of work pouring in. It could be much, much worse.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Mobile and Agile

Originally uploaded by spudnik187.

Forgot to mention earlier that Bryce is now walking and doing so with much joy. He is enjoying, I think, the trouble he is causing for his mother and I.

No Rest for the Weary

Things have been insanely busy at work. This is both a good and a bad thing. Good because we are winning business and growing at a rate which we've not yet experienced. Bad because I see my family once a week. It's good to see what people are made of, however. You never learn more about a person than you do when you see them in the pressure cooker. It seems as though we've made some good personnel decisions because everyone is pitching in to make it happen. I feel very lucky.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Still learning

It became clear to me recently that our company would have to rethink our web delivery strategy. Although we have positioned ourselves somewhat against Flash, I came to the conclusion that it would be the only platform that we knew of that could satisfy our requirements. Being the adventerous type that I am, I quitely started working on a Flash framework that could allow us to deliver our presentations over the web at a reasonable bandwidth while maintaining the functionality of our DVD based presentations. After about a month of trial and error I came up with what seems to be a working model. I have to say that I am very impressed with the Flash platform and its ActionScript coding language. Because of my C++ programming background I was able to pick up AS very easily. It is indeed a powerful platform and I can see why so many people are drawn to it. Hopefully I will soon be able to convert the family website I was working on in HTML to Flash and take advantage of all that ActionScript has to offer. I'm just sorry it took me so long to discover it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Quick Getaway

It's good to get away from the office sometimes and not think about work. Since I helped start "the company" I've had very few chances to really relax and focus on things other than work. Even on the weekends my mind often turns to work. Yesterday I had a chance to totally remove myself from the day-to-day. Much needed indeed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Deal with the Devil

Those that know me are aware that I am a huge proponent of open source software for a number of reasons. In particular, I have become enamored with the Mozilla Foundation and their flagship offerings-Firefox and Thunderbird. They are both great products. I have also detested Microsoft Outlook and it's susceptibility to viruses. It isn't Microsoft's fault necessarily, but the fact remains that people write viruses that affect the majority of users. Unfortunately for me, as our company has grown it has become difficult for all of us to stay in sync with regards to our schedules and keeping track of who has to do what. Outlook has somewhat of an answer for this problem. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that Thunderbird doesn't offer the same solution. In the best interests of the company I have decided to jump to Outlook as my primary business email/task/calendar/meeting management tool. It hasn't been as bad as I thought, but there are a number of things I'm already missing about Thunderbird-namely the junk mail handling. We'll see how long it lasts.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Holiday Spirit

Originally uploaded by spudnik187.
Guess it's never too early to celebrate our great country. This is my son in his 4th of July garb. By the way, he enjoyed his first fireworks show.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Humble Pie

It's always nice to see a piece of work that makes you remember how feeble your skills are. Keeps you hungry and always wanting to get better.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Nuevo Radio?

Within the last several days, Apple released a point update to its iTunes music jukebox software. Why then would it possibly be the beginning of the end of radio as we know it? Podcasts.

Before I begin, let me reiterate why I think Apple is possibly on of the greatest innovating entities of the modern era. They make complex technology easy before anyone else even attempts it. On to podcasting.

Podcasting, whose name is derived from iPod and broadcasting, has been around for some time now. Think of it as Tivo for radio. A show is produced (the term show is used very loosely, as technically any audio file could be a podcast) and converted to an MP3 or similar compressed audio file. Then, the file is uploaded to a server. That server then uses RSS (RSS is another discussion for another time if you don't know what it is) to "broadcast" the existence of the file over the internet. Once a listeners' RSS reader picks up the RSS feed it can download the file and the user can listen to it at his/her leisure. Seems simple enough from the end user's perspective. Why does it matter that Apple put support for podcasts in iTunes?

Up until this point, the process of getting a podcast from a 3rd party RSS aggregator to iTunes to the iPod has been cludgy at best. Finding podcasts were fairly simple, but most people didn't even know what podcasts were. Enter iTunes. To say that the iPod is the best and most popular portable music players in the market today would be an understatement. Naturally, most people who have iPods use iTunes to manage their music and sync it with their iPods. The iTunes Music Store is also the largest and most popular legal music download service in the market. People have become accustomed to purchasing and managing music with iTunes on Macs or Windows machines. Podcasts are now part of the iTunes Music Store and are very, very easy to subscribe to. One click and you're done. It's so easy it's literally fool proof.

So how is this the end of radio? First, podcats aren't subject to FCC rules and regulations. That alone has serious implications. Second, anyone with a computer and a microphone can have a podcast. Literally anyone can have a podcast about literally anything. With iTunes now providing a directory for podcasts in which normal people like you and I can submist our podcasts, literally millions of people can potentially subscribe to your podcast. Stop and think about that for a minute and you'll realize why the big corporations that run traditional radio are scared. Their cash cow is about to get slaughtered by the new "rebel radio" and there's nothing they, or anyone else, can do about it.



Monday, June 20, 2005

One of the Best

I witnessed one of the greatest clutch performances I have ever seen in a sporting event tonight. Robert Horry, of the San Antonio Spurs, hit 4 key 3 point shots and a monstrous dunk to single-handedly win the 5th game of the NBA Finals for the Spurs. I admire athletes, or anyone else for that matter, who can perform so well under extreme amounts of pressure. Horry all but won the third NBA championship for the Spurs in the last 7 years. What a joy to watch.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Smooth Criminal

Don't know what to think about the Michael Jackson trial. It sounded like there was some fairly damning evidence against him. Of course, the boy's family seemed to be very flaky at best. I think he may have actually been molested, but he, nor his family, had any credibility whatsoever. Either way, Jacko has some serious issues.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Need more sleep

You know you're tired when you wake up on Sunday morning and start scrambling because you think you're late to work.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Catching up

Been a while since I've posted. Not too much going on until today. Apple and Intel? More on that later.

First, work has been hectic. Purchased Tiger for my aging iMac (800 mHz G4) and it has infused some new life into the little computer that could. Wrting this right now on a blogging widget for Dashboard.

Been playing WoW exclusively and loving it. Just got a GeForce 6600GT for the Linux box. Working great.

Big news today. Apple switching to Intel. Couldn't believe the rumors when I heard the last week and I almost still can't believe after I heard it from the horse's mouth. They need to nail this thing or it's going to cost them dearly. In the end, if it makes Macs more affordable for the masses then I'm all for it. That's all for now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Long time no see

It's been nearly a month since I last posted. Much has happened since then, both in my realm and out. The following is a listing of just some of those things:

Brother-in-law married.
World of Warcraft.
World of Warcraft.

Very busy indeed. Bryce has started crawling, which is quite fun. Things are busy at work. Syringe (my new WoW character) is leveling as fast as he can to catch up with his guild.

I finally convinced the powers that be to get a Mac in the office. Dual 2 G5. Needed it to author a project in DVD Studio Pro. Tiger is awesome. The machine is awesome. Now if I could only get a new iMac for the house. More to come...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Azeroth calls

After much coaxing by my co-workers and friends, I finally took the plunge and started playing World of Warcraft.  I have ridiculed this game, and those who play it, for some time now.  It's really no different from other MMORPGs, but this game has attracted some definite freaks and some people take it far too seriously.  I was challenged to give the game a fair shot before I uttered any more caustic remarks toward it.  I proclaimed that I would not pay a single penny for it unless I could play it first.  Fully expecting that not to happen (there is a free 10 day trial, but only if you know someone who buys the game and hasn't used their card) I was sure I would never have to actually play the game to decide whether or not I would like it.  Only a matter of hours later, my friend tells me that I am free to play on his cousin's account.  Now I had no excuse.  Two weeks later and I'm happy to say I'm very much enjoying the game.  Let me caveat that by saying that I only like running with my office mates and friends.  Through the beauty that is Skype conference calling, we can communicate in real time to plan our attacks, etc.  When I play by myself, my enjoyment factor drops almost to zero.  The bottom line is this: if you have friends that play, play with them.  Get on Skype and have fun.  Otherwise, unless you're a hard core RPG fan, save your money.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


I was delighted to see Apple has finally announced Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger".  If you haven't read about it, do so.  It is going to change a lot of people's minds about the way they manage data.  This is what I've been waiting for to order a new Mac mini so that I can get Tiger and iLife '05.  Now, all I need is iWork and I'll be good to go.  Can't wait until the 29th.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Great Service Goes a Long Way

One of the workstations at the office got sick from some bad RAM and crapped out over the weekend.  Fortunately, we got 3 year warranties on all of the machines we purchased from HP.  I called their toll free support number and was, amazingly, only on hold for a minute or two.  The polite, yet obviously non-expert, young lady surmised that I should have my RAM and CPU replaced.  She told me that she would have them out as soon as she could, which usually means you'll get it in two weeks if you're lucky.  To my surprise, UPS showed up with RAM and a CPU this morning.  I have to say I'm impressed.  Not that I had heard bad things about HP support, but I just didn't expect it to be this good.  Kudos to HP for not going the way of other large PC manufacturers (whom I won't name) and letting their service drop off the face of the earth.

There is No Spoon

I found a new blog today. From what I can tell it's devoted to all things advertising. Its name is ADJAB. They're running a story right now that claims that The Matrix story may have been "stolen". Didn't everyone know this? I'd heard of this long, long ago. I thought they just picked it up where the original author left off after getting his blessing. Guess I heard wrong. This still doesn't change the fact that they are some of the greatest stories ever told via motion picture.

Ides of Spring

Baseball is upon us. Major League Baseball opened their regular season on Sunday night. I'm actually one of the few people I know that enjoy watching baseball. My Texas Rangers lost a close game to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (or whatever they're going by) last night and are currently in extra innings as I write this. The surprising thing is that these are low scoring games. At least through 2+ games, the Rangers pitching is holding up. Now if they can just keep it up for 160 more games...

Still haven't been able to mess with my quasi-functional Linux box. May not be able to until after taxes, which probably means not until after April 14th.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

KDE 3.4...sort of

I installed KDE 3.4 on my SUSE 9.2 desktop. The install process was painless, as I was able to update through YaST now that the 3.4 binaries have been added to the Suse servers. Unfortunately, when I rebooted after the install, I was greeted with several I/O errors and a nice long period of non-responsiveness (I'm sure that's not a word, or even officially recognized use of the English language). This is one thing that will keep the "lay man" from using Linux. They can live with having to find alternatives to their favorite Windows apps, but it takes a minor miracle for most things to "just work" the first time in Linux. That doesn't sit well with the "lay man". Will try to get to the bottom of this and report my progress.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Feds hard at work

Saw this over at Slashdot.  Apparently, the FBI is making a habit of cracking WEP encrypted wireless networks (WEP is probably the most common form of network encryption for average home users).  If I was them, I wouldn't exactly be announcing what I was doing.  If you use WEP to encrypt your network move to WPA (assuming your router supports it).  Check your documentation if need be.  Go buy a new router that supports WPA if your current router does not.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Cool site

I'm probably the last person to hear or see this but, I've just discovered a great site call Bloglines. Basically, it acts as an RSS/Atom/XML/Blog aggegator. If you're not familiar with those terms, the lay man explanation follows. Many, many sites syndicate their content via a format known as RSS (which I believe stands for Really Simple Syndication). There are a couple other formats such as Atom, etc., but the idea is the same: create a very small text file that contains all of the important info users may need, for example, headlines and top stories, and allow users to grab and read them. The benefit is that I can see the headlines for a given site without having to visit it. The next step is to aggregate all of your favorite feeds into one central location so you can see all the latest from each site without having to visit them individually. Until Bloglines only third party applications have served as feed aggregators (I may be wrong about this, but I've never seen a web driven aggregator until Bloglines). Of course this means that you would have to install said app on every machine you may want to check the feeds from. Enter Bloglines, which has created a web based aggregator. I won't go into detail about how it works, becuase they've got ample documentation at their site. I definitely recommend this to anyone that frequents mutliple sites, multiple times daily. The best part of Bloglines is its price-nothing. The service if free? Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

iPod rules

I am continually amazed at how I keep finding new uses for my lovely 4th gen. 20GB iPod. It truly is worth every penny (funny considering mine was given to me gratis). If you don't have one, get one as soon as you can. A great resource for all things iPod is iPod Lounge. To fill your iPod, please buy some music, either at your local retailer or online at the iTunes Music Store.

On another note, I see that KDE 3.4 has been released. I have not fired up my Linux box in about a month, so I have not been able to install and test it. Anyone tried it yet? I will soon (probably after I'm done with taxes) and will have a review up as soon as possible.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Just missing the mark

My company closed the book on our first quarter today. Unfortunately, we missed our revenue goal by $20k. I was really looking forward to the bonus to help pay for taxes. Just one more deal...oh well.

In my quest to know all things Skype, I stumbled upon a great Skype centric blog-Skype Journal ( There are some very interesting things happening in the world of Skype, and VoIP in general, that are going to enable a whole new channel of communication for every day users. I really believe 2005 will be the year of Skype. I, for one, can't wait to see what comes of it.

Random Musings

I hate taxes. I've had a chance to play around with a Sony PSP and, I must say, they are impressive. I couldn't believe how good Spiderman 2 looked on it's color screen. I can't wait until someone figures out how to run Linux on it. I hate taxes. Can't wait for the start of Major League Baseball tomorrow. My Texas Rangers should make a strong run for the playoffs. Can't wait for the Final Four this weekend. Should be 3 very good games. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger should be here in a few weeks-a year ahead of Longhorn. Wish I had the money right now. It's really nice to see some companies still innovating.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Random Musings

I love March Madness. This is almost as good as college football bowl week(s). So much unpredictability. Even if you're not a basketball fan, you've got to love it. I'm very lucky to have had a great group of friends growing up. I still talk to all of them today and a couple of them I see almost everyday. Most people can't say that. If you don't have an iPod, get; you won't regret it. I wish I would have purchased some Apple stock when it was hovering around $14. The sad thing is, I knew they were going to do what they're doing now. I just hate spending money. Three day weekends are awesome.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The joy of a day off

I took a non-holiday day off for the first time since the birth of my son over 6 months ago. It's strange to go almost 20 hours without checking e-mail or voice mail and somehow feel almost guilty about it. Sometimes you need to clear your head, though. The sights and sounds and smells of the local Livestock Show and Rodeo can quickly make that happen quickly, especially if you start to think about the insane amounts of money you're spending.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

March Madness

One of my favorite times of the year is upon us. The NCAA basketball tournament is one of the greatest happenings in the world of sports. Even casual and non-sports fans participate in office pools, etc. Even though I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable, I usually do terrible in these pools. There are also great games taking place over the next three weeks. Can't wait.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The wonders of air travel

It's amazing to think that I had meetings in 3 different states in the same day. Commercial air travel is a true marvel (or, at least, it is to me). If only I could get internet access while in the air. I've heard Boeing was working on it, but I have yet to see anything come to fruition. It boggles my mind to think that thousands of flights are managed 24x7x365 with almost never any problems. If any virtual team of people gets things done, it's air traffic controllers.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Random Musings...

It's always interesting to see what motivates people. Sometimes it's not what you would expect. I really enjoy Skype the more I use it. I can say the same for Firefox. I can't say the same for the Windows operating system. Don't purchase a plasma display of any kind for any reason. I don't care how good you think they look.

Current iTunes track:

from the album "Dedicated" by ATB

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Internet telephony for the lay man

Occasionally, I will write about specific programs that have a real impact on the way I communicate, work, etc. One such creation is Skype. Think of Skype as a mix of your favorite instant messaging program and your phone. Skype-written by the same people that brought you the Kazaa file sharing program-uses P2P technology to allow for real time voice communication over IP networks (VoIP). Skype is easy to use and the audio quality is fantastic. Basically, you keep a "buddy list", similar to your instant mesaging "buddy list" and when you want to talk to that person you initiate a real call instead of a text chat. Skype has allowed me to shave hundreds of expensive long distance minutes off of my phone bill each month. I won't give a full review here, but I will say that I definitely recommend it to anyone who has been looking for an easy-to-use VoIP application. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Current iTunes track:

Imagine from the album "Imagine - Single" by A Perfect Circle

Friday, February 18, 2005

Gaming (or lack thereof) in Linux

Let me start by saying I love my Suse 9.2 box. It has done everything I've asked for and more. My only gripe is gaming. It's been discussed a million times before. All I will say is this: the average person can't (and shouldn't have to) recompile a kernel to get a gaming environment to work. I'm a fairly technical guy, but trying to set up the CVS version of Cedega has been very trying, to say the least. I don't know if it's my distro, graphics card (GeForce FX5200), or myriad other variables. This is the only reason I can even fathom keeping a Windows box and that makes me sad.

Current iTunes track:

Inside Of Me from the album "Hypnotica" by Benny Benassi

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

On Linux and Mac OS X

I've mentioned that I use Linux and OS X at home and Windows XP at work. I am amazed at the mediocrity that most people will settle for, and, in some cases, even prefer. Being a start-up, we don't really have the budget for an IT department, per-se. Because of my background, I am the default computer guru, along with another of my co-workers. I deal with Windows problems constantly. I can see peoples' argument that Mac's are too expensive, but, for goodness sakes, Linux is free. The latest distributions of Linux are easy to set up and use. I sometimes think that if a miracle cure for AIDS were discovered and it were offered to 100 people, 90 of them would decline because they were accustomed to their current medications. Are people really so stupid and/or helpless?

Monday, February 07, 2005

ical syncing can be fun and can actually work

I have been a Mac user for a couple of years now. I also use Windows at work, and recently installed Linux on my spare PC at home. I have been struggling for some time with figuring out a way to sync all of my calendars from iCal (Mac) and Sunbird (Windows and Linux). Mozilla's calendar implementation is really great, because it does remote calendars the right way. When you first load the app it will download the latest version of the calendar from the server. Then any time you make a change it will append those changes to the ics file and post it back to the server. iCal, unfortunately, does not download anything from the server when it is run. Rather, it can only publish changes to the server. I have heard that this will change in Tiger, but I needed something sooner. Here is what I did:

First, I setup WebDAV on my Mac at home. A super walk through can be found at

Next, I copied my Calendars folder from ~/Library (which contains the ics files used by iCal) to the ical folder at /Library/WebServer/Documents/ical.

Then, I created a symlink to /Library/WebServer/Documents/ical/Calendars and placed it my Library at ~/Library. I renamed the existing Calendars folder to Calendars.bak just in case I ever need it again.

All that's left to do is configure Sunbird. Subscribe to a remote calendar. In the location field I entered my path, which is http://[ip_address]/ical/Calendars/[name_of_file].ics. I checked the box that says "Automatically publish your changes to the remote calendar". Obviously, you would substitute your ip for [ip_address] and the name of the ics file for [name_of_file].

That's all there is to it. Now I can make edits at home using iCal. The next morning at work I can fire up Sunbird and there they are. When I make edits at work and open up iCal when I get home, the changes are there! Works seamlessly, as far as I can tell. I haven't seen this particular solution documented anywhere else. Please let me know if it has been. Feel free to send me any comments, etc.

Sleeper Bowl

This is probably the first time since I started paying serious attention to sports (circa 1993) that I've not watched the entire Super Bowl. I felt compelled to catch up on sleep. I caught the last 3 minutes of the game, however. It's funny, but it seems like the older I get the less I care.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Adventures in Linux

I recently acquired an old AMD Duron based PC and thought I'd give Linux a try. I'm a Mac OS X user and I've used RedHat 4 or 5 years ago. I thought I'd go with SUSE this time. I downloaded their "Network Install" boot disc and away I went. Installation was fairly straight forward. You have to load drivers for your particular network card. Next, you supply the IP address of the server you're installing from. Then, you give a path on said server to the SUSE packages. Once you've done that, you can choose the customary options such as Date/Time, disk partitioning, etc. Once the packages are read off of the server you are able to customize which ones you'd like to install or not install. Once you've made your picks the installer starts downloading packages. Here's the only bad part of my experience. I don't know if I just picked a bad mirror, but it took 6 hours to download and install 1.4 GB worth of packages. Once installed I was presented with the KDE desktop, which, I must say, is beautiful. From there you can start exploring the wonders of Linux desktop computing. Overall, I'm very impressed. This is a much better experience than I had with RedHat in the late 90's. A package manager/installer called YaST was included with the install and has made installing programs such as Firefox and Thunderbird a snap. There's so much more to tell, but in the interest of time, let me say this: If you are tired of being plagued by Windows and can't afford a Mac, then try SUSE Linux. You'll be happy you did.

Hello World!

My first real attempt at blogging. I figured everyone was doing it, so I might as well. Probably won't post often, but when I do it'll be worth it. I may even post later on tonight about my experiences installing SUSE Linux (Yay!). Does anyone really read these anyway?