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User Journal

Journal Journal: My Journal - now with two BIGGER scoops... 2

I am moving my journal to my own server so that I can use MovableType. I am not enjoying the slashdot interface, and it is slower than my home server to add an entry, and I can't control the look and feel, and I can't add photos, and...

Oh, and I find that I never complete any of my JEs when I write them on slashdot, since I tend to rant rather than journal here... I always start typing, spend 15 minutes and realize that I've made no sense so I just never post it.

Catch the new and improved journal at this place.

Not that anyone is reading this anyways...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Egads! How the time flies by...

I haven't journaled here since before Christmas. Oops. Oh well, I guess I have a lot to put.

The past few weeks have been pretty crazy. Like having pipes in my house freezing and bursting, Having the car break down, working like mad to get our new product integrated at work, and many more! I really need a break.

And apparantly this Sunday is the week I agreed to lead worship at church. I thought it was next week until Darren called me two nights ago, so I have been scrambling to prepare. I wanted this to be very special, but I it is not going so well. So far I have a drummer (Richard) and a bass player (Darren) and myself on guitar. I left messages for Dave to play lead guitar, for Bill to play percussion and for Janika to sing backup last night, but I have not heard back from them yet. Hopefully they can all be there.

I wanted Gina to sing with me, but she has to work Sunday morning :-( I wanted to have all of my songs chosen by now, but I can't find my song sheets, and it seems that Delirious?'s record label has done a good job of making sure none of their stuff is on the net. And the song that I wrote a couple of weeks ago in my PDA is shorter than I had remembered, and I have forgotten the music to go with the words!

I'm sure things will be OK. I'm sure I will be ready. I'm sure that the during worship, the heavens will open and my whole church family will be swept up into a whole new worship experience. But I still feel like panicking now.

More Music...
I ordered a new computer last week. Athlon XP 2500+ and stuff - but the crowning jewel is an M-Audio Audiophile 2496 sound card. I will be trying my had at a little home recording. Now all the ideas that I have I will be able to use. I still need to get a mic and mixer - I may be ordering those today. But this thing's gonna rock.

User Journal

Journal Journal: 3 more sleeps...

Ah, it will be nice for Christmas to get here. For one, I will be on vacation until the 5th of January, so I will get a much needed rest. But as well, we will have the chance to spend time with family and friends. I am looking forward to that.

We are planning a party for the home group. I mentioned it to people yesterday after church, and they seem to be up for it. Yay, they still love us...

I hope I don't waste the time. I need to spend time with our kids, and also to play guitar a little. I never play my guitar anymore.

I keep hoping that my kids will develop enough patience that we can play music together, but it hasn't happened yet. I am sure that Julian could keep a more complex beat on the drums, but he doesn't seem to want to try. Elias I think would try, but I'm not sure he has the coordination. They can both do a simple rock beat (without the kick), but I'd lke to get them to learn some other beats. If they did learn a beat, I would write a song around it, but I'm not really up to writing a sog around a plain rock beat right now.

Don't Buy Anything Before Christmas!!!
I was out on Saturday running errand, buying a part for the car, and I decided I would stop at Cox and see how much a new remote for our car started would cost. When we bought our car, it came with a car starter, but only one remote, which Gina grabbed immediately (God love her...).

The remote was only $30, so I figured I would just snag it there. They programmed it on the spot, and I was very happy until I went to pick up Gina and the kids at the Y. As we left the building, I showed her what I had bought myself...

You idiot...

It seems that she had already bought me a remote for Christmas. *groan* And the worst part is, I couldn't stop laughing. Eventually she gave up and laughed too. We took back the one that I bought, and now I won't have it until Christmas day.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Join me on the Dark side, Joe...

I am currently downloading development tools form Microsoft. gak! gah! ugh!

I have had a CASIOPEIA BE-300 for about a year now. Bought it because my Visor got stolen when I was on vacation in Toronto. I remember being in Futureshop, looking at the Palm, the Handspring, the iPaq. Although I had been happy with the Visor, I was really disappointed that none of the PalmOS devices at the time could play mp3s. Then I saw the Casio - full colour, 16 megs of ram, 16 megs of flash, CF slot, and mp3 player built-in. All for the same price as the low-end Visor or Palm.

I then swallowed my pride and bought a WinCE palmtop. I am not proud of the fact that I gave money to Microsoft, but I just got wowed.

What I didn't realize at the time is that what I had purchased was a Windows CE device, but not a "PocketPC". Casio got me. Although the BE300 is very cool, it does not run all of the PocketPC apps. That means no Pocket Outlook. The primary function of my Visor was to keep lists, which it did well. The Casio supplied application to track tasks is next to useless.

I soon discovered that there was a very active community on the web built around the BE300, and something called ePods. ePods is an alternative "distribution" of Windows CE for the BE300 that makes it operate much more like a real PocketPC. Not 100% though, and still no Pocket Outlook.

Having seen the rapid development of ePods, I had hope that someone in that community would build a better PIM application. But here we are, a year later and no PIM. My BE300 has not seen a lot of use (it probably would see more if i bought a nice big CF card for mp3s)

So I recently explored synce, and was able to transfer files back and forth from my linux machine at home. This is great - it means if I get a CF card, I will be able to use it as an mp3 player. But I still need a decent PIM, and I realized now that I will have to write it myself.

Which brings me to eMbedded Visual Tools 3.0. I hope I can figure out how to build a little task/calendar with a vCard driven back-end that ill let my keep a buch of lists categorized so that I can find my way around them. I know nothing about MFC, and little C/C++, so wish me luck.

If I get something usable, I will definitely release it for all the other BE300-heads out there.

User Journal

Journal Journal: I need two of me...

I hope when I get to be an old man, that I don't look back and feel that I've missed out. I frequently have way too many things to do, so when a free moment comes up I end up watching TV, or browsing the web because I am too tired to do something enriching.

I always feel I should be reading a book, practicing my guitar, writing music and poetry, or praying. I don't spend enough time with my kids, I don't cook new foods, I don't write new programs in new programming languages...

I'm lazy.

No matter how hard I try, I can't motivate myself to do things that will be of long-term value to myself. Working, running around town on errands, cleaning house - these things seem to exhaust me.

How do other people do it? I know other people that seem to succeed at some things. Where do they get the energy? How do they conserve their time? These are questions I need answers for.

It frustrates Gina to no end that she ends up managing our household and assigning me tasks because I can't manage things myself. I need a silver bullet.

User Journal

Journal Journal: All alone on a Tuesday night

No one showed up for home group again last night. I think we may as well say it's done, since that is about 4-5 weeks that either no one or just one person has showed.

We went to bed early, so I brought my laptop and played with soundtracker a bit. I figured out the bass line for my mod, so I was happy.

Since I have started tracking, one thing has struck me about it - there is no bloody documentation. The tracker itself is awkward to use, although once you discover some of the keybindings it gets better, but the help consists of a page of tracker commands and a pointer to This site looks like it hasn't been touched in a couple years, and the only useful part is a link on the page called "Resources", which indicates that it is deprecated.

Now that I have started playing with this thing, I would like to know how to manipulate patterns, what is the difference between an instrument and a sample, and other fundamental questions. I spent some time googling for more help, but to no avail. So I have a very powerful music making tool, and I have to teach myself how to use it. Bleah!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Keeping up

I have been taking a litle more active participation in /. lately. Not quite sure why, 'cause it is busy at hell here at work. I guess I do have a fair bit of downtime during the build/copy-to-server/test/rebuild cycle.

SGI's response to SCO has really been the most enjoyable reading of late. Rather than IBM's cold shoulder approach, they have chosen to actually examine the code and assert their innocence in the matter. It is a selfish tactic, but it works - it gives linux good press without throwing fuel on the fire.

Anyhow. if anyone is reading this that is in the know - I want some information on sound recording in linux. I am about to buy a new PC, and i need to choose a sound card, and maybe spring for a MIDI controller - so i would like to know what works with Ardour . But I don't know where to look, and my googling has been fruitless.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Congrats, Devils!

Watched the Devils win the Stanley cup last night. They really put it to the Ducks - they hardly had a chance. Kinda makes you wonder what happened in those other three games.

I know that being a Devil's fan is an odd choice for a guy who has never even been to New Jersey. I guess I'm just strange like that. Still, it is alway good to see your hard work cheering at the TV rewarded :-)

I could go on about the Conn Smythe choice, and other stuff, but I think I'll leave things like this:

Devils, you rock! Let's go for 4 in 2004!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Karma Chameleon

My Karma is excellent! (not that there's anything wrong with that...)

Why do I care? I don't really. It's just funny that I noticed my Karma was "Bad" a few weeks ago, and made a resolution to change it. And here I am. Is there something beyond "Excellent"? "Supreme", perhaps? Maybe I'll log in sometime and discover that my Karma is "L337".

The crazy thing it, Karma bad, Karma good, I'm still the same old Joe. I was still making the same assinine comments about the same assinine things, I just didn't bother posting them to Slashdot, and hurled them face-to-face at Jared instead. But a few +5 funnys later, and here I am. King of the world!

Some good has come of it, don't get me wrong. I posted a serious comment, and had a nice exchange with someone struggling with a problem that I have been through. I posted a lame comment, and got razzed by a good slashdot poster. In fact, I marked him as a friend, and all of a sudden I see "the green pill" popping up all over the place on intelligent comments (thank you MCHampster!).

So I am undecided on the whole Slashdot/Karma thing. I guess I will need to post more to come to a conclusion

User Journal

Journal Journal: Climbing the "dev" Ladder

I am now starting to work on my first project as a "developer" with my company. Traditionally, I have referred to my role in the company as a "script monkey" or "code cowboy", but my latest project (an installer for our company's product) turned out to be good enough and needed enough that "we" have decided to "productize" it in the next release.

That's all well and good. I expect to finally get a little more respect from all my java-coding heroes around the office. But man, oh man - the crap you have to go through to do official work in this company. Requirements documents, architecture documents, specifications, and meetings. Humbug!

I have to confess - I saw this coming. In fact, I asked for it. The truth is, you can only survive as the configuration/support guru so long before you need to feel that you've actually contributed to the project. And in time, maybe I'll grow to love process activities. But speaking as a guy that has trouble turning in his time-sheets every week, well, I think I'm going to drown.

How do you do it? How do you spend time documenting what you plan to do, while documenting what you are doing, documenting what you just did, and at the same time try to get some code done?

I'm waiting for an epiphany. Right here.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Happy Birthday Gina

Today is my wife's birthday. She turned twenty-nine for the first time ;-)

I woke the boys up early, and we skulked around the house preparing homemade birthday cards and toast with cheddar and jam (her favorite). It is nice to be a dad sometimes, when you see your children expressing love to their mother.

After they all went to school, I walked uptown to work, but stopped first at Appleby's, the local photo lab to get some pictures done (her birthday present). It's funny how used to gimp and photoshop I have become, I assume that everything should allow me to scale, crop, resample and change the mode of photos - Appleby's has a nifty little machine that will take your cd and allow you to pick your pictures, and then get your disk back. I like that better than leaving my disk there. It will also let you make gretting cards, puzzles, and silly things like that. But do you think it will allow me to convert my photos to black & white? Nope.

Disappointing, but not crucial - I told the salesperson what I wanted, and she will look after it, no problem. I guess I'm just spoiled.

Anyhow, happy birthday, honey. You will never read this here in a million years, but I felt like putting it here anyways.

Journal Journal: Needing community

It's funnly how lonely you can feel in the midst of a crowd. I have been reading slashdot for ages, long before moderation and Karma existed. For years, I have been getting more or less accurate news, and feeling like everything is passing me by.

It occurred to me the other day that the little box in the top right corner of the page displayed what slashdot thought of me:

Karma: Bad

My Karma was bad? how can that be?

It seems you need to post, to get Karma ;-)

So I posted a couple of times. In all honesty, I just expected to place a couple of funnies as an experiment: how much do I have to do to bring up my Karma.

After a couple of posts, my Karma said "Neutral". I even got modded up to a "+3 Funny". But Neutral? It seems to me that I should have started there - so a-posting I went.

Slashdot actually posted a story that piqued my interest, so instead of posting a funny, I actually shared a little of my experience. I was surprised to find that when I got back to slashdot later on, there was a reply to my comment from someone who was struggling now with the same thing I had gone through.

For the first time ever, I had connected with a person through slasdot. This had only happened to me once before on a mailing list, so I was a bit shocked.

So I have made a new resolution. I am going to use slashdot. My life has been a little rough lately, and I ma feeling like I need to find a new place to hang out. This could work.

I will keep you posted.


Journal Journal: Where is the critical mass?

I just tooled up my step-mom's new Christmas gift, a nice little value PC. The thought crossed my head that I should put linux on it. After all, I have become a very happy user of Redhat 8.0 on three PCs (including my home one that my wife and kids use). I know that she will not be buying any windows games, and linux has all the other tools she needs (i.e. cd burning, web, email, im, word processing).

But I couldn't do it. I wouldn't be able to to explain to her why her computer could not download all the windows software, or why gnome-toaster is so difficult to use, or why she has to remember a "root" password in case it asks her.

It gets better everyday. CD-burning and font management plugins for nautilus are almost there. Mainstream sites now carry linux software, and it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find some media type on the web that i can't handle.

Soon. Very soon.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Bugging Jared 1

Since I started looking at the "advanced" features on slashdot, I have noticed that Jared (whom I have just added to my "friends") has a 6 digit user id. It makes him lose a bit of his geekishness. Then again, he is just a babe...

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