Saturday, February 14, 2009

Arts and Crafts Chandelier

So about a month ago my wife went to The Antique Lamp Company looking for an arts and crafts style light —sorry, my humble abode and me make it hard to call it a chandelier, for our dining room remodeling project.  And although they didn't have anything readily available, they do restoration work on old lights.  So they did have two units that she found interesting so hauled me down there a few days later to check them out.

So we went, I saw and we both liked one better than the other.  It's fairly basic and was originally configured with two electric and two gas lights.  It's also in fairly rough shape at this point, but bear in mind that I trust my wife's visionary abilities 100%.  And being that all nice things arts and craft get snapped up —at a hefty price, we opted to put a $20 deposit on it.  He was going to start working on it, but it's going to take a while to rehab, which is fine because we're far from ready for it.  So once he's done with it, my wife will then select the glass to use with it.  And the best part is that if we decide we don't like it we get our deposit away and move on because he says he'll sell it in a matter of days anyway.  Cool.  So now you need put on your visionary glasses and see the following with a shiny brass finish and (probably) light rose colored, (probably) square glass…

Arts and Crafts Chandelier (before)
Did I mention that it needs a LOT of very expensive rehab?  ;)
February 14, 2009 @ 10:54 pm | Category:

Toodledo: Further adventures in GTD

So I've become a bit obsessed about my My Organizational System (GTD) which was exacerbated by Joining the iPhone Cult and then complicated by Killing Sandy.  That was a bit difficult initially, but I've adapted after taking Rob's suggestion to give Toodledo a try.

It's been a while now and I can pretty clearly say that at this point I'm definitely hooked.  It doesn't have the SMS support that Sandy had, but I don't need that now because they have an iPhone app.  This makes it really easy to manage anytime anywhere.  At my desk at work or home I can use the web interface, and on the go I can use it from my phone.  They also offer a number of widgets that allow you to access it.  Being a Netvibes junkie, I have that widget, but honestly don't use it much as I pretty much have the Toodledo site open in a tab all of the time.  It also has a Twitter interface, but again, I don't really use that either.  That would probably be useful if you have a non-smart phone though as it would somewhat replicate some of Sandy's SMS functionality.

And as time has gone by I've started to use more of Toodledo's features.  Most recently I started to use the Notebook feature.  Which is useful, but even more useful if you get Appigo Notebook which can synchronize with the Toodledo Notebooks!  This returns the note functionality I previously had in my Palm days.

I also have been syncing my todo's to my gCal, but I'm not really using that much these days.  I really like gCal, but my phone is tied to our Exchange server at work.  Unfortunately these days I need to use that but would like to explore syncing it to gCal as well.  The notification/accept/decline functionality works well, but beyond that it's pretty weak.  You can't schedule meetings with other, only for yourself.  And then you can't even flag those as private if you want too.  Very annoying.  Plus I miss the ability to have multiple alerts for an event.

There's a lot of additional functionality in Toodledo, particularly for hardcore GTD's that I don't currently use.  Maybe someday, we'll see.  But even as I'm using it now its become an incredibly useful tool for me on a daily basis.
February 14, 2009 @ 08:21 am | Category:
Saturday, January 17, 2009

A New Computer

So after suffering though years of falling further and further behind the technology curve, I've finally bought a new computer for home.  But before I get to that, let's talk about what I'm typing this on at this very moment…

Currently I have white box PC that originally was built in 1997.  It's been piece by piece rebuilt or upgraded over the years, but nothing new for a number of years now.  It originally was a Pentium II or maybe even Pentium.  I know I replaced the motherboard at one point, but I don't know if I changed processors then.  In any case, a couple of years after that I did get a Pentium III on the cheap which is what it currently runs.  I don't recall the rated speed, but it's overclocked to 784MHz and has a lofty 256MB of RAM.  It originally had a 6GB hard drive, but I added a second 40GB hard drive.  It originally had a cheap 15" monitor that was later replaced with better castoff monitors.  First a better 15", then a 17" and about 3 months ago a 19" which is about the only truly worthwhile part of it.  So anyone else think it's time for an upgrade?  Me too…about 5 years ago.

Ever since my first PC I've always built my own machines.  But these days I simply don't have the time or inclination to do that.  Thus, "Dude's getting a Dell".  ;)  So last weekend I finally pulled the trigger on a XPS Studio series machine.  The basics: So there it is.  I guess you could say that's "slight" upgrade from where I'm currently at. (!)  Could I have built something myself for less or better for the same price?  Maybe.  Could I do it in as easily as saying "yes" and picking up the phone when Dell called?  No.  It's hassle free, a reasonable deal and meets my needs.

It's got the newest processor line available, although a couple of steps below the top of the line. (cost consideration)  But it's got lots of DDR3 memory which should really help with the type of things I struggle with currently that I'd like to do more of.  That being audio ripping and encoding, photo and video manipulation and scanning, again mostly photos.  Currently trying to do most of those sorts of things is painfully slow and you can't do anything else.  That shouldn't be a problem anymore.  The speakers certainly aren't audiophile quality, but it's big step up from the no-name basic plastic boxes I currently have.  Besides, if I really want to listen to something through the computer I generally use a good set of headphones.  It's got a six button mouse which is something I have gotten used to using at work and I find very handy.  And the front panel media reader is a godsend as I'm tired of hassling with various adapters and having to constantly pull and unplug various things to free up a port.

I'm happy with my decision.  And I'm excitingly awaiting it's arrival.  Which could be as long as another two weeks as the estimate ship date is on or before 1/28.  This is due to having to wait for the monitor to be in stock, but I believe it's worth it.  If endure the current system for 12 years so what's 3 more weeks at this point, right?
January 17, 2009 @ 07:57 am | Category:
Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Moustache Competition

So one of the guys at work organized a moustache competition last November. I deemed it silly and opted to pass. But this year I decided I'd get in on it. What the hell, I've never gone more than about 4-5 days without shaving so why not? The rules are fairly simple. You had to be clean shaven at the beginning of November and have your moustache style shaved into place by the beginning of December. As for style, you pretty much could grow anything you wanted with two exceptions… 1) There has to be a disconnect between the beard and sideburns; and 2) no hair anywhere below the lower lip with the exception of the "soul patch". Read more…
January 11, 2009 @ 12:30 am | Category:
Saturday, November 29, 2008

What have I done?

I came across this meme and liked it so I thought I'd give it a shot…

I did this.
I ain't did this.
Kinda dun it.
  1. Started your own blog
  2. Slept under the stars
  3. Played in a band
  4. Visited Hawaii
  5. Watched a meteor shower
  6. Given more than you can afford to charity
  7. Been to Disneyland
  8. Climbed a mountain
  9. Held a praying mantis.
  10. Sang a solo
  11. Bungee jumped
  12. Visited Paris
  13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
  14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
  15. Adopted a child
  16. Had food poisoning
  17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
  18. Grown your own vegetables
  19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
  20. Slept on an overnight train
  21. Had a pillow fight
  22. Hitch hiked
  23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
  24. Built a snow fort
  25. Held a lamb
  26. Gone skinny dipping
  27. Run a Marathon
  28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
  29. Seen a total eclipse
  30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
  31. Hit a home run
  32. Been on a cruise
  33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
  34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
  35. Seen an Amish community
  36. Taught yourself a new language
  37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
  38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
  39. Gone rock climbing
  40. Seen Michelangelos David
  41. Sung karaoke
  42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
  43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
  44. Visited Africa
  45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
  46. Been transported in an ambulance
  47. Had your portrait painted
  48. Gone deep sea fishing
  49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person - Seen the outside, they wouldn't let me in!
  50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
  51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
  52. Kissed in the rain
  53. Played in the mud
  54. Gone to a drive-in theater
  55. Been in a movie
  56. Visited the Great Wall of China
  57. Started a business
  58. Taken a martial arts class
  59. Visited Russia
  60. Served at a soup kitchen
  61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
  62. Gone whale watching
  63. Got flowers for no reason
  64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
  65. Gone sky diving
  66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
  67. Bounced a check
  68. Flown in a helicopter
  69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
  70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
  71. Eaten Caviar
  72. Pieced a quilt
  73. Stood in Times Square
  74. Toured the Everglades
  75. Been fired from a job - It was mutual and on good terms though.
  76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
  77. Broken a bone
  78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
  79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
  80. Published a book - Self Published
  81. Visited the Vatican
  82. Bought a brand new car
  83. Walked in Jerusalem
  84. Had your picture in the newspaper
  85. Read the entire Bible
  86. Visited the White House
  87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
  88. Had chickenpox
  89. Saved someone's life
  90. Sat on a jury
  91. Met someone famous
  92. Joined a book club
  93. Lost a loved one
  94. Had a baby - Fathering counts, right?
  95. Seen the Alamo in person
  96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
  97. Been involved in a law suit
  98. Owned a cell phone - Although I don't "own" one now! (corp)
  99. Been stung by a bee
  100. Read an entire book in one day - I'm lucky if I can read one in a year!
November 29, 2008 @ 12:33 am | Category:
Friday, November 28, 2008

Arts and Crafts Rocking Chair

My wife and I are both fans of the Arts and Crafts style.  We're slowly remodeling our home in this fashion, including furnishings.  A couple of years back my wife bought herself an arts and crafts rocking chair.  I was jealous and thus we began searching for one for me.  So back in February we finally came across one at an antiques shop that, although a grimy and in need of repair, was basically solid and seemed comfortable to me.  And best of all, it only cost $50...  Read more…
November 28, 2008 @ 09:49 pm | Category:
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Killing Sandy

I was way out of the loop yesterday due to some personal issues, but it was truly bummed out this morning when I found out that Sandy (previously discussed in My Organizational System (GTD)) will be shutting down on December 8th.

The announcement calls it a fork in the road.  At this point it's more like a fork in the heart…Sandy's or mine I'm not sure.  Rael Dornfest, the CEO and developer is shutting it down, while he and the IP from Sandy (and it's predecessor Stikkit) are moving to Twitter.  Maybe at some point Sandy's functionality will reemerge there, but a complete and immediate Sandy shutdown leaves us loyal users high and dry.  There's a lot of bitter words in the comments of the shutdown message (above), but it's not completely unexpected from my perspective.  But it was a very small company and times are tough in the free Web 2.0 world so I'm not completely shocked.  It's just that I never expected a full shutdown.  I always felt it would get gobbled up if nothing else —which it has, but that it would keep running until fully absorbed.  That's unfortunately not the case here.

I was using Sandy a lot in the past, but then had waned a bit when I joined the iPhone Cult.  I thought I would move on to something else, but after a while I found that even with a more full featured phone I didn't really want to use another service/method.  Guess I will be now.  At this point it's likely to be Remember The Milk or Toodledo.

Goodbye Sandy, I'm going to miss you!
November 26, 2008 @ 11:22 pm | Category:
Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Recession or Collapse of the Dollar

I came across this video many month ago; although it's actually been out there for well over a year now.  With the current economic crisis, one has to wonder what the endgame is…a revalued (lower) dollar (it's been gaining on the Euro) via a deep recession, or the collapse of the dollar?

November 18, 2008 @ 12:55 pm | Category:
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