Archive | December 2008

XO Laptop

My family donated to three charities for Christmas this year. One was the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) … aka the XO Laptop … and we added ourselves to the Google Map.

Game on the snow

The Ultimate games I played in Monday were more on top of a crust of ice than in the snow. After a while, though, we had broken much of it up.

It was about 3 or 4 degrees, with little wind in Downers Grove. The 19 people that came to play seemed to have prepared and mostly stayed warm.

All but four of us went to a local bakery/restaurant, The Omega, for lunch. Then Mike Lommler, who went with me, helped me find the address in Lincolnwood where I had to run an errand. From there, though the terrible traffic tried to keep us from it, we headed home.

Street View and Ice Storm

Guido pointed out that Google Maps “Street View” is also being populated for Lincoln Ill. (in addition to Jacksonville Ill.)

How cool is this? They captured my wife’s Halloween decorations last October:

The ice storm yesterday was pretty crazy. Our tree’s branches (normally 6 feet or better off the ground) were nearly touching the ground they were so heavy with ice. Our neighbors lost half a tree, and these huge branches have snapped off all over town. Power was out until 2:00, the power company told us 35,000 homes were without power yesterday morning.

I have three sump pumps to keep out the water. The main had no electricity, the backup’s battery had died, but the water-powered sump kept us dry! (I just added that one this year and it is pretty cool that it uses water pressure and needs no power.)

Also the cell towers must have been iced-over as well because I didn’t get normal cell reception again until 4:30 yesterday!

MySpace app

The iPhone MySpace app was seriously lacking with no support for MySpace blogs … until last night. The updated app adds blog support. I’ll probably be checking in on MySpace more now.

Since the iPhone app “sanitizes” MySpace, the site is much more enjoyable to use.

Now, if people would only use their real names.

Julie and I got a bunch of CDs cheapish. We got:
— Duffy “Rockferry”
— Chris Conell “Carry On”
— Ryan Adams “Easy Tiger”
— The Decemberists “The Crane Wife”
— Rogue Wave “Asleep At Heaven’s Gate”
— Alejandro Escovedo “Real Animal”

And I also recently got:
— Kings of Leon “Youth and Young Manhood”

Lightsaber fund

Star Wars fan buys lightsaber for $240,000 at Hollywood memorabilia auction. [link]

Street View missed me

Google rolled out a major expansion of their Street View for Google Maps today, but they didn’t go down my street, or past my workplace, or past the former home of our art gallery. This view is just one block away from our house. For some reason, parts of some main streets in town were missed. And the entire northeast section of town is not included. They seem to have skipped big parts of the downtown.

There’s some info on the Google Maps blog.

From the movies playing at the Illinois Theater (I can’t make out the movies at the other two theaters), it is after Sept. 21, 2007. The new Steak n Shake is not started. The new Wal-Mart is in the process of being built.

I have yet to check if any of Lincoln has been photographed.

New computer arrived via UPS today. I hooked it up really quick during my lunch break today and it’s running quietly and smoothly so far. Now I need to figure out how I’m going to migrate data, and start installing needed applications.

Julie surprised me by buying a Playstation 2, which also arrived via UPS today. She hooked up and started playing “SingStar.” I think she got a quiz game, too. I might have to try to get something like SoulCalibur or … I don’t know what.

We went to see “Role Models” Sunday, since Ultimate got cancelled.

I signed up for a gym membership last night. Now I need to make myself go enough to make it worthwhile.

Wicked Weekend

Jantina subscribes to Gourmet magazine, and found a new restaurant downtown Minneapolis: Hell’s Kitchen. On Saturday we woke up early and drove downtown for Breakfast. We walked inside, the walls were completely red with black trim, strange art on the walls, and the waitresses were in pajamas. It had a very unique atmosphere. I had the caramel-pecan roll and Jantina was a fan of the homemade peanut butter.

Sunday we were downtown again, we went to the Orpheum to see Wicked. It was fun, very cute, definitely humorous in parts. “Popular” was my favorite song and performance. The Wizard of Oz was never one of my favorites, but the cameos/new back-stories for some of the characters and props were clever.

First night at the gym

I’m trying a free week at the local gym. Julie has been going there for a while, going to exercise classes and using the treadmills or elliptical machines. Now that we’re down to one day a week of Ultimate, I thought I’d try going to the gym this winter.

Monday was my first night. I was just going to get familiar with the weight machines, but, after I started doing that, Julie got done with her class and told me I should try the Boot Camp class that was about to start. So I did.

About 20 minutes into the class, I got flush. I didn’t see myself, despite all the mirrors, but that’s what they were telling me. The teacher got me a wet towel and I took a break for a bit then rejoined the class. I turned white again, got a little nauseous, and was fairly close to passing out. The teacher got me a Gatorade and I tried to cool down.

Before I left the gym I had thrown up. Evidently, I had not eaten much Monday. What I had eaten, a couple volcano tacos, I had eaten recently. My blood-sugar level must have been pretty low.

I went back to the gym late Wednesday, about an hour before they close. I got in about 45 minutes on the elliptical cross-trainer machine. I kept my heart rate around 160 for most of that and the machine said I had run about 4.5 miles. And I’m not sore today. Cool. Oh, and I didn’t throw up. Bonus.

Computer No. 3

I tried many times over the past few days to find or configure a system I liked so that I could take advantage of one of the deals for Cyber Monday or Black Friday, but I kept running into dead ends.

The one I was most excited about had a quad core processor, 4GB RAM and a 320GB hard drive, but I finally figured out it only came with 64-bit Windows Vista, which would cause me more problems that I could handle.

So I started looking on Ebay and found a system with the following:

2.4 gHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
2GB of DDR2 RAM
160GB hard drive (everthing’s eSATA now, right?)
CDRW/DVDRW drive
Media card reader
6 rear USB 2.o ports
3 front USB 2.0 ports
Windows XP Professional
Keyboard, mouse, power cord, manuals and software discs

I paid $284 with IL sales tax and free shipping. What do you think? Maybe this one will last me 11 years, like the one Troy got me in 1997 or 1998?

The one Troy got me is my second computer and that’s the one I’m using now. It’s got:

500 mHz Pentium III processor
767MB SDRAM (3 x 256)
30 GB hard drive (Ultra ATA)
160 GB hard drive (Ultra ATA)
Windows XP Professional SP3
DVD RW
CD-RW
Floppy drive
Zip drive
5 USB 2.0 ports
2 USB 1.0 ports

My first computer was an Apple IIe, by the way. I guess I have a precedent of going long stretches without buying a new computer.